Minnesota case - update

The situation over the state of Minnesota's attempt to have ISPs block a badly researched list of some 200 online gambling websites was confused as InfoPowa went to press this Friday.

On the one hand, the Poker Players Alliance issued a statement advising that the controversial enforcement action had been abandoned, and on the other iMEGA, which has played a leading role in combatting the moves by Minnesota officials, said that it had not.

The contentious attempt to demand that ISPs block the websites was initiated without political approval by enforcement director John Willems, who sent the error-riddled blacklist to ISPs and demanded that they block the websites.

iMEGA immediately reacted by writing its own letter to the ISPs advising them of their legal rights and asserting that the enforcement demand was without legality or substance.

iMEGA also launched a court action to halt the enforcement action.

The ISPs have so far failed to respond to the demand, and in the meantime iMEGA has advised media that it has had discussions with Willems and the state AG aimed at avoiding the unnecessary expense of court actions, with the AG indicating that the issue would not at this stage be pursued.

In a press release on the PPA website, the organisation declared victory and claimed that the Minnesota Department of Public Safety was dropping the enforcement action.

This claim was apparently based on information from state Representative Pat Garofalo, a local politician who has opposed the action by state officials. He indicated that the matter was concluded after “the legal position underlying the issuance of the notices was reconsidered” and specifically credited the PPA and the Interactive Gaming Council for helping resolve the issue.

“This is a great day for internet freedom,” said Garofalo. “In the spirit of cooperation and in recognition of the rescission of these notices, I am more than happy to withdraw my [opposing] bill and in its place sponsor a discussion aimed at establishing a framework for regulating and licensing the online gaming industry.”

The PPA's regional director for Minnesota, Matthew Werden, said: “Minnesota poker players made our voices heard, the state listened and ended its ill-advised and improper attempt to circumvent the rights of Minnesota poker players. We commend Representative Garofalo for literally tackling this misguided effort head on and resolving it without incident.”

“We are extremely proud of our membership for unifying so quickly and effectively in opposition to this action,” said John Pappas, Executive Director of the PPA.

However, iMEGA chairman Joe Brennan Jnr. took a contrary view, telling the gambling portal 911 that the issue was still ongoing. "No deal has been finalized with Minnesota yet," he is reported to have said.

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