Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Minnesota Latest To Try To Block Gambling Sites

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the this-is-an-issue-of-liberty dept.

United States 138

BcNexus writes "A story is developing that the state of Minnesota is contacting ISPs with a request to block about 200 gambling sites online. Minnesota is claiming authority to do so under a 1961 federal law, apparently the Federal Wire Wager Act. There are a couple interesting aspects to watch as this unfolds. Will the ISPs cooperate or will they argue about applicability to casino games, as other have? Will Minnesotans lose their money or access to their money in escrow accounts like the state is warning will happen?"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

is it even legal? (2, Interesting)

tritonman (998572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762393)

Is it even legal to use gambling sites in states where it's illegal to gamble???

Huh? WTF Rush? (-1, Troll)

Burkin (1534829) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762421)

Does anyone else find it funny when hydrocodoine addict and hypocrite Rush Limbaugh constantly rails on how there is no "right to privacy" in the Constitution yet constantly whines about someone infringing on his own apparent "right to privacy" when it comes to his medical records?

Re:Huh? WTF Rush? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27762531)

Huh? I must have blanked out, I think the reference to Rush Limbaugh was unnecessary, please edit accordingly... In fact, I'll do it for you, according to Slashdot standards and expectations, to help you gain some karma back:

Does anyone else find it funny when hydrocodoine addict and hypocrite Rush Limbaugh constantly rails on how there is no "right to privacy" in the Constitution yet constantly whines about someone infringing on his own apparent "right to privacy" when it comes to his medical records?

Re:is it even legal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27763695)

It is completely legal to gamble here in Minnesota with some limitations; if you're on a Native American Reservation (which are the only legal locations to operate a casino here), or buying state lottery tickets at the gas station.

Re:is it even legal? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27763873)

Here's the scoop:

- The Federal Wire Act [wikipedia.org] was originally intended to prohibit betting on sports via [telephone] wires.

- The more-recent Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act [wikipedia.org] (UIGEA), which was secretly attached to the 'must-pass' Safe Port Act, made it illegal for banking institutions to allow outgoing financial transactions if the bank believes the funds are intended for online gambling purposes. Each bank must determine what is legal and what is not, with no guidance from the federal government.

- The USDOJ interprets the Wire Act as including the internet, and ALL forms of gambling, despite the fact that the internet did not exist when the act was introduced, and further despite the fact that the act only applies to 'sporting events or contests'.

- The World Trade Organization has repeatedly found the US in violation of its trade agreements with other countries (such as Antigua, who first complained to the WTO, and the United Kingdom, where internet gambling is legalized, regulated and taxed).

- The US continues to ignore the WTO ruling and keeps trying to eradicate internet gambling.

Minnesota is another US state trying to protect its cash cow. Other states with similar laws include Nevada and New Jersey. (Bonus points if you can figure out why!)

The sensible thing to do is to LEGALIZE and REGULATE the multi-billion dollar industry, especially when the tax dollars could prove so helpful during a recession.

Gamble much on the economy, Minnesota? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27762405)

This is line 1 of my comment
This is line 2 of my comment
This is line 3 of my comment
This is line 4 of my comment

This is line 1 of the signature
This is line 2 of the signature
This is line 3 of the signature
This is line 4 of the signature

Gambling (5, Insightful)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762409)

We gamble every time we buy stock, how is this any different than on a poker table. Somehow, I don't see the "fairness" in this. Personally, I think the odds are better at Black Jack than on Enron.

And what about those sites that lets us play with "chip count" verses real money - are they going to be banned as well?

Re:Gambling (1)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762465)

Thank GOD you brought this point up so I don't have to. I thought NOBODY was going to pick up on the stock-market == gambling bit. Gawd.

01)Fund an account.
02)Buy some stocks.
03)Print out your transactions.
04)Put it on a wooden table.
05)Bend over.
06)Take a picture.
07)Scan the picture.
08)Send it in.
09)Sell.
10)Profit!

People! People! People! Have we learned NOTHING over the years?

=Smidge=

Re:Gambling (5, Insightful)

TinFoilMan (1371973) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762467)

It's all about the tax money, which ain't funny.

I also agree that if the state allows a lottery - which is gambling - they why not make gambling sites add a penny tax for each dollar bet and submit to the state from which that person resides?

Re:Gambling (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763339)

Just curious, won't this law run afoul of the WTO treaties again?

Wasn't the US ruled against on a gambling law like this recently...?

Re:Gambling (2, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762501)

Buying stock is tied to business success - It's "investing" rather than "gambling". Buying gas I think is a closer every-day similarity to gambling - The price could be lower tomorrow, and you would have lost out.

The thing that bugs me, is why in the hell do we allow churches to hold bingo tournaments with cash prizes in places that ban gambling!?! It's basically Keno for old ladies (I know, I know - Keno is Keno for old ladies...) Either legalize it or don't.

I'll stop this rant before I start in on the reservations just down the hill from here...

Re:Gambling (0, Offtopic)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762599)

The thing that bugs me, is why in the hell do we allow churches to hold bingo tournaments with cash prizes in places that ban gambling!?

I LOL'd. Reverse psychology is a funny thing. A "do not touch" sign makes exposed high-voltage wiring seem like an adorably cuddly kitten begging to be petted. The allure of defecating in one's pants is irresistible when the goal is precisely the contrary. And naturally, the next words to come out of a someone's mouth after "don't tase me, bro" are probably going to be "Aaowwwgh!"

=Smidge=

Re:Gambling (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763439)

Reverse psychology is a funny thing

Yeah man.

A "do not touch" sign makes exposed high-voltage wiring seem like an adorably cuddly kitten begging to be petted.

Totally

The allure of defecating in one's pants is irresistible when the goal is precisely the contrary

I completely ag- erm. Wait. What? Damn man, how do you get through the day?

Re:Gambling (5, Insightful)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762811)

Buying stock is tied to business success - It's "investing" rather than "gambling".

That's only true indirectly. You actually make or lose money based on the moves of the other "players" (investors), which we hope is based on company success but isn't always in the way we would expect. You can literally lose money in the stock market if a company you invested in made $1/share last quarter if the speculation was saying it would make $1.05/share; it doesn't even take a long or detailed look into history to see many examples of exactly that. Either way the company was successful and profitable, but if people feel they can get a bigger return elsewhere they can and often do pull their money, leaving what you're left with worth less. Possibly less than you bought it for, depending on when you got in and what happened since.

In that sense, it really is more like poker than strict investment. In an investment, I make money if you make money. In poker, I make money if I can successfully read the other players at the table and act accordingly--even if I don't necessarily have the best hand.

Re:Gambling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27763163)

Gambling Doesn't Pay Dividends

Re:Gambling (3, Funny)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763253)

"Gambling Doesn't Pay Dividends"

True, but, it seems these days, most stocks don't pay dividends either.

Re:Gambling (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 5 years ago | (#27764549)

Dividends are low, because they recieve unfavorable tax treatment. This has caused all sorts of bad corpeorate governance, as "growth" is taxed preferably to paying profits back to stockholders.

But plenty of stocks pay dividends. The S&P500 pays an average of about 2.5% in dividends right now, so the idea of returning profits to stockholders hasn't completely been abandoned.

Re:Gambling (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763475)

This is true mostly for day traders, who are indeed gamblers; and the naive folks who think that the stock market is a great way to get rich quick. However, long-term investments are investments, and not gambles. This irregularities that you mention are typically not even blips on the radar over a 10 or 20 year timespan. Over that time the value /may/ decline - but if you do your research and pick stable companies with long-term plans for the future, it's very unlikely.

Re:Gambling (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27764429)

In that sense, it really is more like poker than strict investment. In an investment, I make money if you make money. In poker, I make money if I can successfully read the other players at the table and act accordingly--even if I don't necessarily have the best hand.

I think you're giving the stock market too much credit. It's not investment at all, at least by the traditional definition. When you buy common stock, if that company files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy (restructuring), your stock becomes worthless. In short, for a small cash outlay, any company (or at least any company in debt) that wants to shed all their liability to the stockholders can do so. You are not buying a portion of a company. You are buying a piece of paper with no intrinsic value. It's monopoly money.

The only way you get money out of stock is if either A. the company buys back the stock, B. the company dissolves and distributes its assets, C. the company does a distribution of dividends, or D. you find somebody else willing to buy that piece of paper. In practice, A. never happens unless the company is in financial trouble and is doing a reverse split to remain on the market. Similarly, B. also almost never happens, and if it does, you will always get far, far less than the market value of the stock. Thus, for companies that pay no dividends, there is no real chance of making money in the stock market that doesn't require somebody else buying in for more money. As a result, the market only really grows significantly when more people buy into it (or when existing investors decide to invest more). Thus, ignoring dividends, the market is fundamentally bounded. In short, It's basically the world's biggest Ponzi scheme.

You'd like to hope that the majority of investment is occurring by the companies themselves, and that this pushes the markets enough to be viable, but that hope is every bit as much of a gamble as any other online gambling scheme....

Re:Gambling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27762971)

Reservations are soverign and have nothing to do with the state. In fact, most states seem to hate them (both casinos and Indians). So the state is not being hypocritical, like they are with bingo.

Re:Gambling (5, Insightful)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762519)

Well see, in gambling, there are rules against cheating and bad things tend to happen to cheaters, therefore, gambling is bad.

With the stockmarket, cheating is called creative accounting and cheaters get even bigger bonuses, therefore, the stockmarket is good.

If you gamble, you can only gamble away your life savings, and that's bad.

In the stockmarket, you can gamble away everyone's life savings and make a huge profit for yourself, so that's good.

See, gambling is like socialism, and socialism bad. The stockmarket is like The Capitalist Free Market, and the Capitalist Free Market is good (and you're a dirty socialist commie pinko bastard hippie if you say otherwise).

Kidding, I know....but.... (4, Informative)

tacokill (531275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762681)

Ok, I was going to let your post slide because I know where you are coming from but...just to be clear...

Stocks and gambling are NOT equivalents. Not even close. When you buy a stock, you own a piece of a company. As in, you own it just like you own a bike or a computer or any other asset in your house. You have (some) legal rights and some "claim" on future earnings. That's what stock, aka common equity, represents.

Additionally, the price of stocks is determined "by the market". In other words, all the buyers and sellers of stock determine the prices as they go along based on the value that they subjectively assign to each stock. That's the market we are speaking of and that's why the prices move. For every sell, there is a buy. And for every buy, there is a sell. The price is arrived at by this process and this process alone. In other words - it is not random.

Wayyyyyy different than gambling. Gambling is random and even worse, the end results (risk/reward profiles) are heavily skewed toward your competitor (the house). Stock price moves are determined by the market. Just a bunch of buyers and sellers agreeing on the price - but it isn't random, like gambling.


Ok, I have to go take the stick out of my ass now....carry on. Thx.

Re:Kidding, I know....but.... (3, Informative)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762853)

Since you seem to want to share your views on this, I'd like to ask you: How do you classify "prediction market" sites like Intrade.com, where you bet on real-world events. It doesn't represent ownership rights in a corporation (though it does represent ownership right to $10 conditional on a future event), but it is coupled to a real-world non-gambling event?

And how does US law treat prediction markets?

Re:Kidding, I know....but.... (2, Insightful)

vishbar (862440) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763795)

I would also add...how is a weather derivative [wikipedia.org] any different from a bet on a prediction market?

Re:Kidding, I know....but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27764129)

Those are classified as "binary trades."

Re:Kidding, I know....but.... (2, Insightful)

Deag (250823) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762901)

So where does betting exchange websites fall into this?
Sites like betfair operate on the basis of a market every transaction or bet has a buyer and a seller.

The odds are determined by what the market dictates.

Interestingly some of these sites (like betfair) market themselves as betting websites while others which do the same thing are calling themselves prediction markets - see intrade.

Re:Kidding, I know....but.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27763141)

Bullshit!

If there is ANY RISK involved, it's gambling.

Doesn't matter if you have equivalent assets available or not.

Stop trying to paint the modern market and consumer products as some holier than thou enterprise just because the legal system happens to be behind it.

If you HAVEN'T figured out by now that ALL of this is a gamble, you should have your head checked.

Re:Kidding, I know....but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27763621)

ANY RISK?

There's plenty of risk in driving to work every morning. I don't know if I would call that gambling with my life though.

End car analogy.

Re:Kidding, I know....but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27763197)

From some perspectives, it's still the same thing. You're throwing money up a sow's azz and yelling "Sooey!" This is prolly closer to the future's market but you get my drift.

Re:Kidding, I know....but.... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27763473)

Additionally, the price of stocks is determined "by the market". In other words, all the buyers and sellers of stock determine the prices as they go along based on the value that they subjectively assign to each stock. That's the market we are speaking of and that's why the prices move. For every sell, there is a buy. And for every buy, there is a sell. The price is arrived at by this process and this process alone. In other words - it is not random.

You only have control of when you buy or sell. You are betting on the actions of other people. You are betting that other people will buy or sell when you want them to. You are betting that a company will have positive earnings report.

Horse races are determined by the speed of the horse, the skill of the jockey, and the conditions of the track. Those things aren't really random either.

Wayyyyyy different than gambling. Gambling is random and even worse, the end results (risk/reward profiles) are heavily skewed toward your competitor (the house). Stock price moves are determined by the market. Just a bunch of buyers and sellers agreeing on the price - but it isn't random, like gambling.

And the odds are stacked in favor of the CEO and board of directors who have more knowledge of what the company is doing. If they act on this knowledge while buying or selling stock, it's insider trading, but lots of execs are careful and get away with it anyway.

Ok, I was going to let your response slide, but (2, Insightful)

bgspence (155914) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763499)

So where do sites like the Chicago Board of Trade fit in?

There you bet on the future price of a stock by buying put and calls, the simplest of derivatives on assets or commodities.

And insurance, and ...

Re:Kidding, I know....but.... (3, Insightful)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763719)

Stock price moves are determined by the market. Just a bunch of buyers and sellers agreeing on the price - but it isn't random, like gambling.

Stock price moves may not have the same kind of "randomness" as a roll of the dice, but they're certainly not deterministic, either. If they were, we'd all be rich, except the other guy, of course. If we were to write a game based on equity trading, the "market model" used would probably be a Monte Carlo simulation.

And what about poker and similar games? The "price" of the bet is determined the players, who are estimating their chances versus each other's predicted actions using limited information. In other words, the poker table is a market.

I'm not arguing just to be contradictory here, but you did say: "Stocks and gambling are NOT equivalents. Not even close." and "Wayyyyyy different than gambling." and lastly ". . . it isn't random, like gambling." Randomness really means something is not perfectly predictable, but can only be predicted in a probabilistic sense.

Re:Kidding, I know....but.... (3, Insightful)

Madball (1319269) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763931)

Wayyyyyy different than gambling. Gambling is random and even worse, the end results (risk/reward profiles) are heavily skewed toward your competitor (the house). Stock price moves are determined by the market. Just a bunch of buyers and sellers agreeing on the price - but it isn't random, like gambling.

Not all gambling is random in the same way you describe. Some, are non-random, house-favored, such as sports/horse betting. Then, there is poker... The house takes a cut of pot. While your starting hand may be random, the winner is far from random.

As in, you own it just like you own a bike or a computer or any other asset in your house. You have (some) legal rights and some "claim" on future earnings. That's what stock, aka common equity, represents.

Also, I would argue that all stock really represents is voting power. It is not an asset in any real way. Your share is not equal to Company Worth/Total Shares. It's worth either par value ($1) or whatever the market thinks it is worth--> which can be completely independent of the company's intrinsic value (if such a thing exists).

Re:Gambling (1)

TheDotInSlashdot (709277) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762913)

Roll of dice does not produce anything (except for the house). But Enron could have.

Re:Gambling (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763671)

People can and do win at gambling. Over the long-term though, the house wins.

Same with the stock market. And in this case, the "house" being the CEO's who pump up their company values and then jump out with a massive golden parachute before it deflates.

Re:Gambling (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 5 years ago | (#27764625)

CEOs don't really get paid any better than sports stars. They aren't the villian of the piece. CEOs get away with what the borad of directors let them get away with. The board is supposed to represent the stockholders, but when the chairman of the board and the CEO are the same person, well, whjy would you ever want to invest in such a sham?

Most common stock comes with voting rights. If you own such stock, you control the means of production, and companies have had substantial shake ups at just the threat that the stockholders would vote out the current board. That's how Eisner was finally forced to stop running Disney into the ground, for example.

Re:Gambling (1)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763001)

No, buying stocks is NOT like gambling unless you do absolutely no research before buying stocks. Yes, there is risk in the market - that part is on par with gambling. But when it comes to stocks, given the plethora of information out there, you should be making decisions based upon research and on how you think that a company is going to do based on X, Y, or Z (e.g. Apple will be releasing a new iSomething this month - let's buy stock because I think that will make it more valuable).

Of course, if your idea of investing in the stock market is "let's look up a bunch of ticker symbols and pick the first one that sounds good" then, yes, I agree with you.

Re:Gambling (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763105)

Card counting != real time stock analysis. Yup.

Being able to read the other players != knowing what a company is going to do. Totally.

Gambling != playing the stock market. Really. Absolutely different. See, there's this moral high ground that says it's different!

Re:Gambling (1)

Deag (250823) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763151)

Casino gambling is one matter, but sports betting is a different beast again.

How is buying a stock based on belief of increase in value different to looking at the odds on a sporting event and placing a bet on the basis that you think the odds are wrong?

Some exchanges let you sell bets and even a bookie will allow you to bet against. The odds on sporting events rarely stay the same.

Stocks win, gambling loses (1)

IdahoEv (195056) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763209)

I personally have zero problem with gambling being legal, so don't take this as an argument against it.

But there is another key difference between casino gambling and stocks, besides the ones others have mentioned: averaged over time, gambling loses you money and stocks earn you money. Gambling always has a house advantage; wouldn't exist if it didn't. Stocks, on the other hand, have a positive ROI when averaged over several years. Pick any stock index you like - it's nearly impossible to find a 10-year span where it has lost money, and IIRC it *is* impossible to find a 20-year span where it has lost money**.

** Citation needed, but this has been bandied about as fact for so long in the financial industry that I believe it is actually true.

Re:Stocks win, gambling loses (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763821)

In most cases where the company stays afloat, you would possibly be right. But if the company goes under, the for sure your stock is going to be worth squat. Since 1980, Nortel stock has been worth $10 +. However in the past 2 years, it has gone down from $20 to 32 cents. I guess that's 1 counter example for you.

Re:Stocks win, gambling loses (1)

Madball (1319269) | more than 5 years ago | (#27764123)

But there is another key difference between casino gambling and stocks

As mentioned by several, there is more to gambling than traditional casino gambling (e.g. craps, roulette, slots). The proposed ISP blocks would have an effect on all types.

averaged over time, gambling loses you money and stocks earn you money.

How much time? How many stocks? If you are talking particular stocks, than you can definitely lose money over even long time periods (how is your Worldcom stock doing?).

Pick any stock index you like - it's nearly impossible to find a 10-year span where it has lost money

Hm. I dug up a really obscure index you may never of heard of, the S&P 500: http://www.google.com/finance?q=INDEXSP:.INX [google.com]

Re:Stocks win, gambling loses (1)

businessnerd (1009815) | more than 5 years ago | (#27764199)

I just checked Google Finance and it appears that as of market closing (4/29) all three major indexes (Dow, S&P500, Nasdaq) are all in the negatives. Dow being the least negative with -23% since 1999 and the S&P the worst with -36% over the same period. Generally I would agree with you about stocks being positive over the long term, but the market's been a real bitch lately. If you expand the scope to 20 years, your theory is definitely correct(averaging around +200%!!)

Re:Stocks win, gambling loses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27764447)

Pick any stock index you like - it's nearly impossible to find a 10-year span where it has lost money, and IIRC it *is* impossible to find a 20-year span where it has lost money

Here's a 25 year chart of the Nikkei 225. A 20 year chart would have shown a more dramatic loss, but shitty Yahoo Finance won't create a working link: http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=%5EN225&t=my [yahoo.com]

Re:Gambling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27763909)

Gambling and risk taking are actually quite different; aside from the instant payouts vs. long term payouts. For people that do not work in financial industries I can see that it's easy to make this common mistake.

If you take $5000 to the casino, the odds are most definitely stacked against you for any ROI (I might mention you can't actually plan on ROI from gambling). You can calculate your risks, but nothing in the world is going to change the odds unless the House changes the rules. You can't plan for any future hands, so you can't trade, for example, "poker futures." You could make contracts for hands and try to sell puts/calls, but I highly doubt anyone will buy options for something they can't chart historically.

Now, take that same $5000 to a financial planner. Not only do you gain the ability to marginalize your risks, but you can access and accumulate data that, over time, allows you to manage your risk. You can plan your ROI and know EXACTLY when you will recoup that original $5000.

To the people that say stocks/options/futures are a form of gambling; I say go ahead and do the math. You'll find that almost every time (not including becoming a Maddof victim etc), investing pays out more than gambling.

a lesson in futility (4, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762425)

Prohibition doesn't work. Proxies make censorship such as this woefully ineffective at doing what they want it to. Free speech trumps their nanny state. Waste of money during a recession. The flaws are numerous and the sheer quantity of capital likely diverted from productive uses in order to enforce morality is offensive.

The real reason. (4, Insightful)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762629)

Prohibition doesn't work. Proxies make censorship such as this woefully ineffective at doing what they want it to. Free speech trumps their nanny state. Waste of money during a recession. The flaws are numerous and the sheer quantity of capital likely diverted from productive uses in order to enforce morality is offensive.

While I agree with your observation, cut away all the moral and ethical bullshit "justifications", and you'll come to the bottom line as to what is really driving this. It always comes down to someone feeling like they're being robbed. In this case, likely state officials feel as if they're not getting their "cut", or this is somehow cutting into other revenues.

Re:The real reason. (3, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762711)

While I agree with your observation, cut away all the moral and ethical bullshit "justifications", and you'll come to the bottom line as to what is really driving this. It always comes down to someone feeling like they're being robbed. In this case, likely state officials feel as if they're not getting their "cut", or this is somehow cutting into other revenues.

Precisely. Whenever the government passes a law there is always going to be something in it for whoever allowed siad bill's passing. The assumption of selfishness somewhere in any action is a useful one for determing the likely behavior of any entity which has evolved or was created by something which evolved.

Re:The real reason. (1)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763367)

In this case, likely state officials feel as if they're not getting their "cut", or this is somehow cutting into other revenues.

If all those Minnesotans playing online are as bad at poker as the Minnesotans I've played against, I have not doubt that the state is losing tax revenue, from the out-of-state 'donations' their online gamblers are making with the money they'd normally have spent locally on alcohol, firearms, toques, etc. In fact, they (or any state, even) could indirectly increase their sales/etc tax revenue by teaching their resident online gamblers how to play a better game of poker, and by limiting them to playing only in games against non-Minnesotans...

A Lesson in Lobbying (2, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762661)

Prohibition doesn't work. Proxies make censorship such as this woefully ineffective at doing what they want it to. Free speech trumps their nanny state. Waste of money during a recession. The flaws are numerous and the sheer quantity of capital likely diverted from productive uses in order to enforce morality is offensive.

There are very powerful Native American tribes in Minnesota--particularly around the Twin Cities. I should state that having lived there for 21 years, I never once heard of anything negative from them ... until now. I think this may have more to do with ensuring that their clientele (casino gambling is only legal on Reservations and Native American run businesses) remain faithful to their facilities. Having played a little Full Tilt poker myself, I think they may have noticed a tiny drop in profits in the past decade due to the internet.

I have no evidence linking this but I think that everyone knows this won't stop online gambling in the state. I think this may just be effective lobbying of another interest group to protect its profits.

To give you an idea, every adult member of the tribe (Shakopee Mdewakanton Dakota) that owns Mystic Lake near the twin cities was paid out $400k [google.com] in 1994. It would be in their interests to keep the surrounding area contributing to that sum.

Re:A Lesson in Lobbying (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 5 years ago | (#27764289)

In that case (and I'm sure you're right about just who the lobbying forces are here) the state should require that ISPs block access to *in-state* gambling facilities as well.

Methinks if they get hit in the profits the same as everyone else, the Indian casinos would see the light real quick.

Re:a lesson in futility (1)

jekewa (751500) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763825)

Additionally, since on-line gambling is illegal anyway, it will just serve as a gateway to grey-hat or black-hat ways around any kind of IP blocking, such as TOR [torproject.org] or one of the many others.

I say, quit telling people what they can or cannot do to themselves, and let the gamblers gamble. If you, Minnesota, want to do something about on-line gambling, figure out a way to squeeze taxes in there and make it a revenue stream and not a cost-center.

Is there state-run gambling in Minnesota? (4, Informative)

javacowboy (222023) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762439)

If Minnesota already has some form of state-run gambling, then I understand (but don't codone) their motivations for attempting to ban online gambling. However, if gambling is totally illegal in the state, then I have no idea why they would want to ban the practise. What would they stand to gain?

Does the state even have the authority to do this? Internet access is presumably under the jurisdiction of the federal government and the FCC.

Re:Is there state-run gambling in Minnesota? (4, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762521)

There are casinos in Minnesota only on Native American Reservations or run by Native American Tribes. Look up Mystic Lake Casino, Jackpot Junction, etc. See here [500nations.com] .

Does the state even have the authority to do this?

Once upon a time, when power was distributed more to the state (you know, how the founders wanted it) I'm sure it would have been possible. Not so certain now ...

Re:Is there state-run gambling in Minnesota? (1)

Burkin (1534829) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762585)

Since internet gambling usually involves either intra-state or intra-country commerce, the states never had the power to regulate that.

Re:Is there state-run gambling in Minnesota? (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762789)


Once upon a time, when power was distributed more to the state (you know, how the founders wanted it)

The founders fought like dogs amongst themselves over state/federal control, so there's no single "the founders" here.

Anyway, as far as the state having the legal authority to do this, I highly doubt it. States have long tried to bar things they don't like from entering the state. It used to be pornography, now it's gambling. If Utah can't stop Hustler from going through the mail system, I doubt Minnesota can order ISPs to block websites.

Re:Is there state-run gambling in Minnesota? (1)

Etrias (1121031) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762923)

What's interesting is that there has been a push by some people and the governor for a "racino", a place for placing race bets and video lottery, IIRC. Perhaps this is some weird way to try and get some groundswell for gambling to finally push it through the reluctant legislature.

Re:Is there state-run gambling in Minnesota? (1)

mschoolbus (627182) | more than 5 years ago | (#27764211)

There are casinos in Minnesota only on Native American Reservations or run by Native American Tribes. Look up Mystic Lake Casino, Jackpot Junction, etc.

I live right near Mistake Lake, err, Mystic Lake! The casinos are about the only place you can smoke inside in Minnesota.

Stupid smoking ban..

Re:Is there state-run gambling in Minnesota? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27762535)

Gambling is legal on the various Native American Reservations, though I've never been to any of the casinos. Minnesota gets some revenue from them, but not as much as they would like.
When the casinos started doing well and during one of the earlier state budget shortfalls, Minnesota tried to get a larger cut of the gambling revenues, but the Indians pretty much told the state to go jump in the lake.

Re:Is there state-run gambling in Minnesota? (1)

FrameRotBlues (1082971) | more than 5 years ago | (#27764109)

Actually, the State of Minnesota receives no direct income from the Indian casinos. Each individual Indian tribe is it's own sovereign nation, reservation land is owned and controlled by that sovereign nation, and those nations do not pay any form of taxes to the State of Minnesota. They are still represented by members in the State House, however, and the nations do contribute and lobby for bills that benefit them.

The American Revolution started because of, among other things, "Taxation without Representation." It seems Indian tribes are beginning to make the most of "Representation without Taxation."

Re:Is there state-run gambling in Minnesota? (1)

Cazekiel (1417893) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762641)

Yes: http://www.lottery.state.mn.us/ [state.mn.us]

I already commented on this, but state-run lottery would gladly hand out cement shoes to those who get in their way.

Re:Is there state-run gambling in Minnesota? (2, Interesting)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762683)

Bam! [state.mn.us]

So gambling is OK as long as it fills their coffers and at odds that would get any casino run out of town in Vegas. I wouldn't be surprised if the odds were more in your favor at a rigged poker game than at the Minnesota state lottery. Any argument against out-of-state gambling they could make would be hypocritical at best since Joe Sixpack could just as easily blow his paycheck on lotto tickets as he could on Online poker.

Now Utah [gambling-law-us.com] is pretty cut-and-dried on the subject and I would not criticize them for being hypocritical if they were trying to do this. Of course, by their definition I could make an argument that participating in a 401K plan violates this statute. It seems a lot of people would be no worse off now had they put all their 401K funds into lotto tickets. But I digress...

Re:Is there state-run gambling in Minnesota? (1)

techwrench (586424) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763223)

Does anyone else see the irony of a state prohibiting gambling... but running a lottery?

Re:Is there state-run gambling in Minnesota? (1)

qoncept (599709) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763517)

Some people have horrible gambling habits. They get in to trouble. You could argue that the addiction is a disease like any other and that they are attempting to help control it. On one level you have people getting in debt and in big trouble with bookies (we'll call it the "movie scenario") and in others you have people getting in debt and in big trouble with banks and friends they owe money to, hurting not only themselves but their families to need that money to live (we'll call this one the "real life scenario").

Then, of course, the state obviously isn't getting to tax any of this money. And chances are you're losing more than you're making, so the money is just disappearing from the state economy and not being taxed when you buy a hamburger. My money is actually on the dangers-of-gambling aspect, though. Pun honestly not intended.

Re:Is there state-run gambling in Minnesota? (1)

SquirrelsUnite (1179759) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763523)

Isn't it the other way around? If Minnesota wants to ban gambling on moral grounds they might have the right to do so but if they're only protecting casinos from competition they are interfering with interstate commerce.

Re:Is there state-run gambling in Minnesota? (2, Informative)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763773)

Yes they do, that's why they state the 1961 Wire Act:

"The Wire Act was intended to assist the states, territories and possessions of the United States, as well as the District of Columbia, in enforcing their respective laws on gambling and bookmaking and to suppress organized gambling activities.[58] Subsection (a) of the Wire Act, a criminal provision, provides: Whoever being engaged in the business of betting or wagering knowingly uses a wire communication facility for the transmission in interstate or foreign commerce of bets or wagers or information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest, or for the transmission of a wire communication which entitles the recipient to receive money or credit as a result of bets or wagers, or for information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.[59]"

However, the Wire Act mentions nothing about shutting down wire services or having wire services stopping certain transmissions based on their destination.

In fact, all the Wire Act says is it is illegal to use a wire service to place a bet, where each state (sender state/receiver state) say it is illegal.

It is PERFECTLY LEGAL for the wire service to place the transmission.

Meaning Minnesota is going after the middleman and the Wire Act says nothing about that.

Minnesota you lose. AT&T should have no problem telling Minnesota to take a hike.

Re:Is there state-run gambling in Minnesota? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27763831)

The state of Minnesota is not opposed to the principle of gambling, since the state is part of the multi state lotto (powerball)
And there are casinos on the reservations (I don't know it the reservation casinos have websites where you can gamble)

Bingo is a form of gambling, and the Minnesota Veterans Home has regular bingo for the residents.

Federal Wire Act seems to say casual gambling okay (5, Informative)

PoolOfThought (1492445) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762479)

According to the act cited in the original post:

"In analyzing the first element, the legislative history[60] of the Wire Act seems to support the position that casual bettors would fall outside of the prosecutorial reach of the statute. During the House of Representatives debate on the bill, Congressman Emanuel Celler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee stated "[t]his bill only gets after the bookmaker, the gambler who makes it his business to take bets or to lay off bets. . . It does not go after the causal gambler who bets $2 on a race. That type of transaction is not within the purvue of the statute."[61] In Baborian, the federal district court concluded that Congress did not intend to include social bettors within the umbrella of the statute, even those bettors that bet large sums of money and show a certain degree of sophistication.[62] "

IANAL, but I would say from that statute that it is not illegal to gamble or to use gambling cites to gamble. It's illegal to be a bookie (sp?) or facilitate organized gambling as a business. The sites themselves my be illegal, but the users seem to be okay?

No?

Re:Federal Wire Act seems to say casual gambling o (1)

Derekloffin (741455) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762611)

That's good for the end gambler, but what about the ISP? They are sort of in a gray zone between the two. Obviously they aren't making direct benefit from the gambling, but I'm sure someone could make an argument that they are acting as a facilitator (whether that argument would actually hold up, I doubt it).

Re:Federal Wire Act seems to say casual gambling o (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763451)

If the phone companies cannot be charged as as facilitator in regardes to prostitution and may other crimes initiated and or conducted over the phone the neither can the ISP. Mind you if the ISP can be charged then so can the phone company as well as whoever owns the lines and rights of way. Which means the govenment itself could be charged.

Re:Federal Wire Act seems to say casual gambling o (1)

urulokion (597607) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762795)

You don't need to look at anything but the wording applicable section of the statute.

(d) When any common carrier, subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission, is notified in writing by a Federal, State, or local law enforcement agency, acting within its jurisdiction, that any facility furnished by it is being used or will be used for the purpose of transmitting or receiving gambling information in interstate or foreign commerce in violation of Federal, State or local law, it shall discontinue or refuse, the leasing, furnishing, or maintaining of such facility, after reasonable notice to the subscriber, but no damages, penalty or forfeiture, civil or criminal, shall be found against any common carrier for any act done in compliance with any notice received from a law enforcement agency. Nothing in this section shall be deemed to prejudice the right of any person affected thereby to secure an appropriate determination, as otherwise provided by law, in a Federal court or in a State or local tribunal or agency, that such facility should not be discontinued or removed, or should be restored.

The common carrier "shall discontinue or refuse, the leasing, furnishing, or maintaining" when notified in writting that "any facility furnished by it is being used or will be used for the purpose of transmitting or receiving gambling information". It means they have to cut off subscribers or any permanent circuits and the like, if they know that *those* specific facilities are being or will be used for gambling.

Nice try (actually quite lame), but the plain language of the law says no. They don't have any authority to block specific sites that are not being serviced by the common carrier. They may think that's the intent of the law, but courts nowadays have a big thing for the "plain language" of the law as it's written.

Re:Federal Wire Act seems to say casual gambling o (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763853)

Read it more closely:

The second exemption "was created for the discrete purpose of permitting the transmission of information relating to betting on particular sports where such betting was legal in both the state from which the information was sent and the state in which it was received."[69]

So betting is illegal in states where it is illegal. Using the internet to place a bet does not circumvent the law; it's still illegal. Betting is only legal via the internet in states that say betting is legal.

Re:Federal Wire Act seems to say casual gambling o (1)

PoolOfThought (1492445) | more than 5 years ago | (#27764175)

You make a good point, but I don't think what you added changes anything about what I said. Betting where it is illegal is illegal. But the act presented by the state doesn't go after small time casual betting folk.

The fact is that the act itself should not be applicable to what Minnesota is trying to do. The act does not care about casual gambling. The act is only interested in those that are "the bookmaker, the gambler who makes it his business to take bets or to lay off bets." It might be illegal per the state, but that particular act (the state's basis for their case) does not apply to the users of the websites. The users are the casual gamblers that were specifically excluded in one of the opinions (see my previous post).

That being said, someone else pointed out that the ISPs may or may not be breaking the law according to the act. Are they the ones taking / laying off bets? I don't think so. The ISPs are part of the wire. They are not the criminal. Perhaps some other statute / act should have been presented by the state. As it is I see no way for them to use this to acheive their goal. Of course take my opinion with a grain of salt. I am programmer not a lawyer. But if I were a betting man...

Time for Regime Change (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762491)

Time for a voter revolt in Minnesota. Throw all of these clowns who want to run every aspect of your lives out and start over.

Re:Time for Regime Change (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762625)

And then wait a few years while they contest the election results in court.

Thank you Norm Coleman, we really didn't want two senators for our state anyways...

Re:Time for Regime Change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27762735)

Thank you Norm Coleman, we really didn't want two senators for our state anyways...

You can't elect him and then whine because he's upset that Franken's trying to hijack his seat.

Personally, I prefer Franken, but those recount votes were pretty obviously rigged. Bad enough to make any reasonable statistician vomit.

Still, it's disgusting that we're nearly in May and discussing who may-or-may-not win the election...

You think like a ReThuglican Jew (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27763083)

You think like a ReThuglican Jew

Re:You think like a ReThuglican Jew (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27763361)

You are worse than Hitler!!11!!!1

The bottom line... (1)

Derek Loev (1050412) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762505)

People that say games like online poker are the same as gambling simply don't understand online poker. Over the long run (hundreds of thousands of hands), variance will no longer be a factor and the better players will win. It's similar to the stockmarket, and definitely a better investment then a lottery ticket. Look at communities like twoplustwo.com where thousands of players talk strategy and learn about the game, it's not gambling.

Re:The bottom line... (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762809)

It doesn't matter. At the individual transaction level, you are still making a wager on a probabilistic event. Hence it is gambling.

Whether it is a game of skill or chance (or both, to varying degrees), it is gambling.

It's like gambling on the horses... a good judge of horseflesh who does his research well CAN win in the long run, just as with poker. That does not make the wagers he places something other than gambling.

What you're getting at is not about whether or not it is gambling... the long-standing argument relates to whether poker constitutes a game of chance, since many states have laws prohibiting gambling on games of chance. Basically it's a perspective issue, since chance is most definitely an element of poker.

As you point out, the impact of Chance is minimized in the long run*, but that does not mean that chance is not a good portion of the game. As the outcome of almost every wager is dependent on chance, it's hard to make the case that skill constitutes a larger portion of the game (although, like most poker players, I know this is true).

* I suspect the reason Chance doesn't matter in the long run is because he's a quarter horse.

Get it?

Re:The bottom line... (1)

RulesLawyer (245442) | more than 5 years ago | (#27764663)

It's gambling. For the skilled player, it's just gambling with a +EV, unlike the slots or table games, which have a -EV.

Come on... (5, Funny)

cwiegmann24 (1476667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762513)

5 to 1 odds they have to back down within a week.

Re:Come on... (1)

Chunga668 (688825) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762577)

I'll make that 12/1.

State gambling is like the mafia (2, Interesting)

Cazekiel (1417893) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762547)

I work in a convenience store--one of many clerk jobs I've had, and lemmee tell ya, the state does whatever it can to make sure people don't infringe on their territory. They outlawed slot machines in bars, clubs, etc. years ago.

The interesting part is that people have found a way around it. We HAVE a machine in our store, but it's a "Skill Game". Instead of it being a chancy slot-game, you win on every spin by tapping a wild option on the screen, making three fruits/whatever else in a row. Most of the time it's a lame old two cents, but that's how they've gotten around it. It's 'skill'... y'know. Tapping a screen=deciphering the text on the Antikythera Mechanism.

So if these online gambling sites can find a loophole, the state is boned. But they (the online gaming people) will probably have to put up a disclaimer on their site, saying that it's not linked to the state. That's what the machine guys had to do in our store.

Kentucky called (4, Funny)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762563)

They want their hair brained scheme back

Geez (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27762595)

Yeah, gambling is stupid, and maybe some people need a Nanny to protect them.

But couldn't we get busy addressing our country's *real* problems?

Embarrasing (1)

MrSparkle (127251) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762621)

What an embarrassment to MN. I hope who ever is leading this charge is ultimately fired and kicked out of the state.

Re:Embarrasing (1)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762709)

I, for one, hope that those responsible for sacking who ever is leading this charge will also be sacked.

Re:Embarrasing (1)

RKThoadan (89437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763683)

So your sister still hasn't recovered from that moose bite?

There was no Internet in 1961 (3, Interesting)

JO_DIE_THE_STAR_F*** (1163877) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762659)

The world has changed.
This law is irrelevant to the current reality.
You can censor the hell out of your citizens (like China) or you can allow them to participate in a free and open internet, not both. Unless every country on this planet agrees to this outdated law, enforcement will be almost impossible.
The only thing they will do is turn their citizens into criminals.
Minnesota your only choice is to either disconnect from the internet or accept that you can not control it.
Of course to truly disconnect you would have to ban all forms of communication except for snail mail and the pony express. No phones, satellite dishes, cable, etc...


"You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes." - Morpheus

Big business likes big government (4, Insightful)

SonicSpike (242293) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762677)

I just submitted this actually...oh well, I'm just glad it made it up here even if I didn't get the credit.

The fundamental problem is that big business likes big government because big government can regulate and legislate in favor of big business. Online gambling is "illegal". Go back and look at the sponsors and co-sponsors of the bills who made it illegal, and then look at their largest donors. Guess who? Brick and mortar casinos, and Indian tribes....imagine that.

And when the utility companies are government-granted monopolies, then they are subservient to big government too. Utilities should be forced to compete in the free and open market without government subsidies or other forms of market insulation from bad decisions.

This is exactly a case which highlights why the government should be small and limited at all levels; when government gets big it inevitability restricts freedom either inadvertently, or on purpose either for its own ends or at the bequest of special interests.

The slippery slope argument here is paramount too because having a State government forcing ISPs and telcos to block specific sites sets a VERY dangerous precedent! In fact I consider this outright censorship because what's illegal about visiting a gambling website, even if one doesn't use the site to gamble.

Not to mention that making online gambling illegal violates one's right to contract which is inherent in a free society. The Constitutionality of this is questionable at best.

Newest link to be blocked (2, Funny)

KingPin27 (1290730) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762685)

Newest link to be blocked... Google's Feelin Lucky button!! Lobbyists believe this poses too much risk and could become habit forming and addictive.

Oh great where is my address book (2, Insightful)

DnemoniX (31461) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762725)

I live in Minnesota, I do not gamble online, but this is as stupid as it gets. There are a small handful of Indian Casinos in the state. Pressure from the tribes maybe? It just can't be "for the children". Guess I need to start making a few calls and sending a few emails.

Re:Oh great where is my address book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27764195)

Good luck making calls and sending emails will do.

The Senate recently spent weeks fighting over a 3 page bill with no fiscal responsibilities to the state simply because one senator was not happy her bill has languished. In fact, they fought over this bill more than then they did over the 300 page HHS spending bill.

You expect them to have time to look into this?

In Related News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27762905)

Minnesota is now going to Ban people from driving over the border to gamble in Iowa or Wisconsin.

We all know it wont work. (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763215)

Each of those elected members should take a fist full of $50 bills and go th their local highschool that has blocked sites. Then give $50 to each student who can access one of those blocked sites. They of course will be broke in no time and just may notice the futility of their ideas.

States rights a joke in the internet age (1)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763413)

States rights is an 18th century anachronism. This is especially true in the 21st century internet age. How can Minnesota possibly enforce this? The boundary line between Minnesota and Wisconsin means nothing in 2009.

How pointless (3, Informative)

insomniac8400 (590226) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763595)

Proxies exist. If you start forcing ISPs to block stuff, all you will do is create a standard market for proxy services. Then you lose the ability for law enforcement to track down crimes as the most popular proxies will be ones outside the US that keep no log information.

But where is the gambling taking place? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27763901)

From the quoted source:

Subsection (b) of the Wire Act sets forth exceptions, also known as a "safe harbor" clause and provides: ......
[(2)] for the transmission of information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on a sporting event or contest from a State or foreign country where betting on the sporting event or contest is legal into a State or foreign country in which such betting is legal.

so if you are wagering on the server site, where it is probably legal to do so, you are not covered by the Act.

IANAL, but it seems that this is almost always the case. Because users have already created accounts and transferred money to them. The money is therefore where the server is. And the betting takes place there, legally. Which makes it excepmt from this law.

Gambling is illegal but stock trading legal (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 5 years ago | (#27764599)

discuss

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?