Feeds

Minnesota calls for 200-site net gambling blockage

Here we go again

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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 Press reports here, the legal reasoning is fatally flawed for several reasons.

Chief among them, it's doubtful AT&T, Comcast, Qwest Communications and many of the other ISPs receiving the order are legally considered common carriers. That term is usually reserved for utilities or businesses legally bound to carry all traffic over their networks.

The AP also cited analysis from Center for Democracy and Technology general counsel John Morris. He said the Wire Act of 1961 appears to apply to phone companies that directly do business with bet-takers. The Minnesota order here applies to gambling sites on foreign soil, where the US-based ISPs have no direct links.

"I think this is a very problematic and significant misreading of the statute," Morris said.

The move is the latest doomed attempt by a US state to rein in online gambling.

Last year, Kentucky officials seized 141 domain names used by some of the world's biggest internet betting sites. That seizure was blasted by civil liberties groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which argued the laws of an individual state shouldn't trump the rights of everyone else to access sites that are perfectly legal elsewhere. Kentucky's Court of Appeals later reversed the action.

John Willems, director of Minnesota's Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division, told The Start Tribune that he didn't know how pervasive online gambling was in the state, but that anecdotal evidence showed it was hurting legalized casino-style businesses in Minnesota.

The paper goes on to cite a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers that claims the federal government could raise more than $50bn over 10 years from taxes on internet gambling if it was legalized. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.