Minnesota Gambling Saga Ends

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The Minnesota Online Gambling Safa Finally Ends

June 09, 2009

After several flip-flops in the last week it is now confirmed that the state of Minnesota through its Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division (AGED) has in fact withdrawn the order issued to the Internet service providers in late April. The order had been issued to 11 Internet service providers instructing them to block access of Minnesota citizens to 200 Internet gambling websites. Since then iMEGA and AGED had been trying to resolve the matter without getting embroiled in long drawn court cases.

Then on June 5 there were reports emanating from the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) that the issue had been resolved and the order had been withdrawn. The PPA announcement was based on a statement issued by Minnesota Representative Pat Garofalo. Garofalo had earlier introduced legislation against the order of AGED. Garofalo had stated that AGED had reconsidered its legal position, and had retracted the order. Garofalo had a further stated that he was therefore with drawing his bill against the order. Garofalo also praised the PPA in the role they played for affecting the settlement.

Almost immediately there was a denial issued independently by both the state of Minnesota and iMEGA. The Department of Public Safety (DPS) under which AGED operates confirmed that there were negotiations in progress but no binding agreement had been reached and the order stood. Joe Brennan Jr., the chairman of iMEGA, also issued a similar statement.

On June 8 the DPS issued letters to the Internet service providers informing them that the order issued earlier stood withdrawn and requesting their co-operation in the future regulation of online gambling. John Willems, head of AGED, said, “I believe it may be more appropriate to resolve this problem by working to create clear and effective government policies concerning regulation of gambling.” Andy Skoogman, a spokesman for DPS, said, “We have not folded our hand. The action raised awareness of the broader issue about who is policing the Internet and protecting the consumer.” However despite the spin given by the representatives of the state of Minnesota, it appears that the state authorities were convinced that they were on shaky legal ground and that the order would not survive the test of the courts.

iMEGA on its part has withdrawn the suit it had filed in the District Court against the order. Brennan has expressed satisfaction at this outcome. He said that the swift and reasonable action taken by the state of Minnesota has prevented this issue from snowballing into a Kentucky like fiasco where the matter will soon be heard for the third time in a court of law.

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