Minnesota Will NOT Block Local Residents From Online Gambling Sites
Online gamblers all over have faced a number of setbacks (and potential setbacks) recently but there's finally some good news on one front.
The AGED Backs Off
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Alcohol and Gaming Enforcement Division (AGED) has dropped it efforts to get Internet Service Providers to block a number of online gaming sites from local residents. The decision was made after the AGED reached a settlement agreement with the Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association (iMEGA). The iMega was threatening a civil suit against the AGED but that has also been dropped.
It was the possible lawsuit that got the AGED to back down and no longer pursue the blocking of those websites. This was cited by AGED Director John Willems in the letter that he sent to the ISP's, rescinding the block request.
The list containing the websites that were going to be blocked raised a lot of questions and caused quite a stir amongst players and those in the business. iMega chairman Joe Brennan Jr. responded at the time by calling the AGED's plan a "half-baked attempt at intimidation rather than thoughtful enforcement."
Shaky Legal Ground
"We're very happy with the outcome," said Brennan now. "It was clear the public opposed this, and the swift negotiated settlement by DPS and AGED demonstrates both the merit of our suit and the shaky legal ground that the original 'black list' were based."
As for Willems and the AGED, they are hoping for the government to do something with regards to the regulation of online gaming.
"iMEGA alleged that the notice was not authorized under 18 U.S.C. 1084 and violated the First Amendment and the Commerce Clause," Willems wrote. "Whether or not iMEGA would have prevailed in court is unknown. Notwithstanding, the AGED has agreed to withdraw the notice. As a result, iMEGA has agreed to dismiss its court action without prejudice."
"I believe it may be more appropriate to resolve this problem by working to create clear and effective governmental policies concerning regulation of gambling."
Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act (HR 2406)
And trying to create clear and effective policies to regulate the market in the U.S. is exactly what Barney Frank is trying to do. The good news is that Mr. Frank appears to have help in the form of State Rep. Pat Garofalo, who introduced legislation to stop AGED from blocking the gaming sites from Minnesota residents.
Said Garofalo:"This is a great day for internet freedom. In the spirit of cooperation and in recognition of the rescission of these notices, I am more than happy to withdraw my bill and in its place sponsor a discussion aimed at establishing a framework for regulating and licensing the online gaming industry."
To say that this is great news for gamers (those residing in Minnesota) and for the gaming operators is a huge understatement. The measures were ridiculous, they made no sense but luckily in the end, the right decision was made. At least it gives a little hope for the future of online gaming in the U.S.