MINNEAPOLIS (CN) – An Internet gambling trade group claims the State of Minnesota unconstitutionally blocked access to some gambling sites but not others. The Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association also claims that because some sites offer blogs and chat rooms, the state violated the First Amendment.
The plaintiff, which refers to itself as iMEGA, sued John Willems, director of the Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
iMEGA does not deny that its members offer people “an Internet gambling opportunity.”
It says that on April 24 that Willems sent notices to 11 companies, with a list of nearly 200 online gambling sites, “and instructed the companies ‘to block access to these sites by customers located within Minnesota.'” iMEGA members own some of the sites. The complaint continues: “The notices state that the gambling opportunities available on the sites are ‘illegal within Minnesota.’ Regardless of whether this is an accurate statement of the law, merely visiting the sites and perusing their content is not illegal in Minnesota, and the notices do not claim that it is. … Some of the sites identified in the defendant’s list offer not only opportunities to place bets but also blogs and chat rooms. … Some of the sites identified in the defendant’s list offer not only opportunities to place bets but also free entertainment in the form of casino-style games that the site users can play without betting on the outcome.”
iMEGA claims Minnesota’s actions violate the First Amendment. It is represented by John Borger.