On May 8th, 2009, the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association set out a two part attack this week against the state of Minnesota's attempt to block online poker sites from residents. The first portion of iMEGA's counter attack is informing Internet Service Providers that they do not have to follow with Minnesota's directive to block online gaming sites.
iMEGA sent letters to the eleven ISP's that the Minnesota Department of Public Safety had ordered to block access to two hundred online gaming sites alerting the web service providers that they do not have to follow the order. The group followed that up by filing a case in the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis to block the DPS from enforcing the order to block residents' access to more than 200 online gaming sites that offer games like poker.
The case was filed against the director of the DPS Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement division, John Willems, who made the move to have the online gaming sites blocked. According to iMEGA, the state of Minnesota lacks the power to command the ISP's to block the access of the residents to the online sites. The association firmly believes that those decisions are a grave violation of free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
The chairman of iMEGA, Joe Brennan Jr. said that he hopes that state officials will see their error and cancel the blocking order. He added that censoring online access for the residents of Minnesota would establish a chilling precedence of government interference into the online gaming world and they cannot just let that happen. The group also stated out in its letter to the ISPs that the state had erred in its enforcement of a federal law from the 1960's regarding the utilization of telephone and telegraph wires for the transmission of illegal bets.
iMEGA believes Minnesota has neither the power nor authority to command ISPs to block the access of Minnesota residents to online sites that are not located in Minnesota. iMEGA is not the only one fighting the DPS in this issue. State Representative Pat Garofalo introduced a proposal in the state Congress this week that would block the DPS from forcing web providers to block access to online gaming sites.
Garofalo said that Department of Public Safety has better things to accomplish with their time than go after a normal people who just love playing online poker. The proposal would require legislative approval before the DPS could ask ISPs to block access the online sites.
05/17/2009 20:30 PM