The list of 200 internet gambling sites that have come under fire by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety has been released. Many of the websites identified do not accept players from the United States, leaving leaders in the industry scratching their heads.
Headlining the contingent of targeted sites is Party Casino, which is owned by the same publicly traded parent company as its online poker room counterpart, Party Poker. Neither accepts U.S. players and to complicate matters further, Party Gaming, which can be found on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol “PRTY,” recently reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice admitting to Wire Act violations similar to one struck by company co-founder Anurag Dikshit in December. Party Poker is not on the list. Also appearing is PokerRoom, which shut its doors earlier this month along with sister site CasinoRoom (which is also on the list) and funneled customers to bwin.
Bodog appears on the list as “BoDog.com,” but the corresponding URL points to its casino arm. Bodog accepts players from the United States, as does Full Tilt Poker, whose domain is officially under fire by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Cake Poker Network site Players Only also is part of the group of 200 affected sites. Notably absent are PokerStars, Ultimate Bet, Absolute Poker, Lock Poker, Carbon Poker, Doyle’s Room, and Cake Poker. No informational or forum sites appear to be targeted at the moment. The list spans genres such as online poker, online casinos, and online sports books.
The Action Poker Network’s flagship site appears on the list, as does Titan Poker, one of the largest sites on the massive iPoker Network. Neither site accepts U.S. players. Fellow iPoker Network site Betfred’s future may now be in jeopardy, as is the longevity of Microgaming site Betway. iPoker Network sites CD Poker, Mansion Poker, and Noble Poker all appear on the list of 200 sites. One of the most visible rooms to find itself in hot water is Everest Poker, which is the official sponsor of the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP), which kicks off next month from the Rio in Las Vegas. This is Everest Poker’s second year as the spectacle’s presenting sponsor. Its logo will don WSOP felts and also appear in signage at the Rio.
Other websites that have been flagged by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety include Gnuf, Golden Palace, Hollywood Poker, and InterTops Casino, which actually appears twice on the list. Publicly traded company Ladbrokes’ online poker site, despite not accepting U.S. players, is on the list, as are PokerRoom School, River Belle, and Spin Palace. Crazy Poker’s dot com and U.K. domain names are both listed. According to Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division Director John Willems, the list of 200 sites was drawn “randomly” without regard to the type of internet gambling employed.
The Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA), which has been at the forefront of the fight for the industry in Minnesota, was puzzled by the final list distributed by the Department of Public Safety. Joe Brennan, its Chairman, commented in a press release on the organization’s website, “We question how much thought was put into the selection of these sites. To propose censoring Minnesota residents’ Web access and not to know which sites are even in the U.S. market makes me wonder just how seriously the Department of Public Safety is taking this action. It comes off as a half-baked attempt at intimidation rather than thoughtful enforcement.”
The ISPs that received notice have up to three weeks to respond. They include some of the largest telecommunications corporations on the planet: Verizon, AT&T, Qwest, and Direct TV, just to name a few. The letter sent to each ISP reads, “We are therefore requesting these enterprises not be allowed to transmit gambling information to your Minnesota customers.” The letter also states that the Federal Communications Commission (incorrectly labeled as “Federal Communication Commission”) received a copy. Each gambling site is listed alongside its IP address and telephone number, although the latter is not present for every site on the list. The Department of Public Safety is also calling for telephone access to be blocked where appropriate.
View the entire list of 200 internet gambling sites in jeopardy in Minnesota.