back to article Minnesota calls for 200-site net gambling blockage

Minnesota officials have ordered 11 internet service providers to block all computers in the state from accessing nearly 200 online gambling sites. The state Department of Public Safety invoked a federal law passed in 1961 that requires "common carriers" to block telecommunications services used for gambling. As the Associated …

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And so it goes

"... but that anecdotal evidence showed it was hurting legalized casino-style businesses in Minnesota."

Ahh, so it's about protecting the in-state businesses by artificially eliminating competition. Yeah, that sounds legal. Perhaps they would like the ISPs to block access to amazon.com as well, since that most likely hurts the in-state retail establishments. It would also be a good idea to have the ISPs block access to netflix.com since that likely hurts the in-state video rental establishments. Oh hell, let's just have the ISPs block access to everything except for the websites of in-state businesses, and state and federal government sites. People may get a bit upset, but we have to do something to protect the state's interests!

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Anonymous Coward

"The move is the latest doomed attempt..."

While I applaud your optimism and share your belief that this is going nowhere in a real hurry, isn't it still a bit presumptuous to unilaterally doom the proposal? I'm not necessarily asking for Economist-level rigor, here, but that just stuck out a little bit.

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Truth slipped out.

"...showed it was hurting legalized casino-style businesses in Minnesota".

So there we have it. The real reason for the ban is not to help people kick this horrible gambling addiction they have. No, it's to support the local casinos.

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Silver badge

Tax it

"..the federal government could raise more than $50bn over 10 years from taxes on internet gambling if it was legalized."

That's right, get the poor mugs to pay for the economic recovery. What do you mean 'where will they get the money to gamble with?'. Oh,.......er.........

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Alert

More expensive FAIL

When will these guys 'get it'?

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Minnesota is within their rights to block sites

While the law that Minnesota is using to try to block access to gambling sites may be flawed, there is nothing preventing them from establishing a new law to meet their goals. Online gambling IS illegal in the United States, and in Minnesota gambling is regulated and restricted by the government to ensure that all operations are operating fairly and within the limits of the law - something that cannot be assured with a gambling operation outside of the state's borders.

Establishing a new law requiring all ISPs which provide service within the state to block access to gambling sites via a state-provided list is quite legal. Since the federal government already bans online gambling, there can be no complaints about Constitutional violations. There MIGHT be cause to complain if an operator of such a site is within the state's borders and is being blocked from accessing their business if that business is legally operating outside of the United States, but I would assume that to be a very rare exception.

Whether or not such a move benefits in-state casino operations are important, but are secondary to the federal law that is already established.

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Old saying.....

"The internet treats censorship as breakage and routes around it."

Why don't they try to fight SPAM first, then attempt to get the gambling problem. There are some priorities to attend to.

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title

at least this time they are going after the right part of it

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There's a hint here

"the federal government could raise more than $50bn over 10 years from taxes on internet gambling if it was legalized."

"anecdotal evidence showed it was hurting legalized casino-style businesses in Minnesota."

Put those two thoughts together. As soon as the US government legalizes internet gambling, in order to loot it, there will be a really concerted effort to block or shut down any internet gambling sites that they cannot tax, which is all of the existing ones. Legalization will NOT mean liberalisation.

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@Chris C

Actually it is legal, except perhaps under NAFTA. Unless the gambling sites being blocked are in Canada or Mexico, than it's perfectly legal to block access in order to benefit the local casinos(unless there are other free trade agreements in play).

The thing is, their reasons for doing it may be legal, but the law they used is probably unenforceable. The first ISP to challenge it will most likely win;

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Alien

Reminds me of...

....the Scopes "Monkey" Trial back in 1925.

Those fellas had no idea as well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scopes_Trial

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Anonymous Coward

@Phil

"Actually it is legal, except perhaps under NAFTA. Unless the gambling sites being blocked are in Canada or Mexico..."

FWIW: I believe virtually all of the Internet Poker sites are based in Canada (technically on a reservation in Canada, Mohawk, I think?).

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Who cares?

Those outside Minnesota won't be affected, unlike the Kentucky decision which sought to apply state law outside the state boundaries. Those inside Minnesota presumably voted for the people responsible, so presumably they are happy too.

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re: Who cares?

"Those inside Minnesota presumably voted for the people responsible, so presumably they are happy too."

I know this is off-topic, but what an ignorant statement to make. That's like saying that U.S. citizens were happy with George W Bush's decisions as President simply because he was "voted" into office. Meanwhile, his approval rating was below 40% every time I heard it mentioned. Similarly, Mitt Romney was voted in as Governor of Massachusetts, but I don't know of a single person who thinks he did a good job.

Remember, all you need in order to be elected is more than 50% of the votes. If 40% of the public choose to vote, and a candidate receives 51% of those votes, then he/she was voted in by only 20.4% of the public. I would hardly call that having the support of the people. And yet that's the myth that always seems to propagate -- that an elected official has the support of all of his/her constituents.

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re: Who cares?

@Ken H: Sure, who cares now, but what happens if more states adopt it?

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