The state of Minnesota, citing a 1961 law, is seeking to block its resident’s access to nearly 200 gambling domain names. The 1961 federal anti-gambling law states that “all online gambling within its borders is illegal, even if the games are hosted outside the United States.”
Currently, the division of the state Department of Public Safety that enforces gambling and alcohol laws is instructing all Minnesota Internet Service Providers to begin blocking access to the gambling domains.
“We are putting site operators and Minnesota online gamblers on notice and in advance,” says John Willems, director of the state’s Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division. “State residents with online escrow accounts should be aware that access to their accounts may be jeopardized and their funds in peril.”
Proponents against the law are skeptical though. As attorney David Axtell notes, “This is an old law put in place before the Internet, and there may be an argument that it doesn’t cover Internet service providers.”
According to others, the stunt appears to be financially motivated as state casino game revenues have been hurt by the online gambling industry.