NEWSBRIEF
BY MARKANDERSON
IMEGA Takes On Minnesota's DPS
May 8, 2022

Less than two weeks after the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) sent out letters to 11 of the state's Internet Service Providers (ISPs) asking them to restrict access to 200 gambling related websites, the not-for-profit Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association (iMEGA) filed suit against the DPS- specifically the Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement division (AGED) headed by John Willems, to prevent the order from being implemented.

In the suit, according to information obtained from iMEGA's website (www.imega.org), iMEGA contends that the AGED overreached its authority and misinterpreted the law, when they claimed that 18 U.S.C. ? 1084 (the Wire Act) made internet gaming illegal, and in doing so whether knowingly or unknowingly, violated the US Constitution and it's member's (some of whom were named in the initial letter) First Amendment rights. 

As the original letters from AGED did not mention a specific day for compliance but instead state that the ISPs are expected to respond "within two to three weeks,"or face possible consequences when referred to the Federal Communications Commission, iMEGA's members felt their rights were under "imminent threat" and therefore filed the suit to get the court to halt any possible compliance of the AGED order before it was to late.

Prior to the filing of the suit, iMEGA sent letters to all of the ISPs that had been contacted as well, informing them that in their view the AGED was mistaken when they stated that 18 U.S.C. ? 1084 (a.k.a. the Wire Act) made internet gambling illegal.  The iMEGA letters went on to point out that Minnesota did not have legal jurisdiction over the ISP's (all 11 of which are physically located outside of Minnesota) or over any of the 200 websites they would like blocked (many of which are already inaccessible to US citizens and some of which no longer exist).  
 
"It's our hope that Minnesota will recognize their error and drop their blocking order," said Joe Brennan Jr., iMEGA chairman. "Censoring Internet access for Minnesota residents would establish a troubling precedent of government intrusion into the online world, and we just can't allow that to happen."

For more information visit www.imega.org.


Story by Mark Anderson

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