Americans for Tax Reform and the Media Freedom Project today released the following press release:
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety announced today that it has instructed 11 national and regional internet service providers to prohibit Minnesota residents from accessing almost 200 online gaming websites.
John Willems, director of the MN Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division, warned the thousands of law abiding Minnesotans who enjoy online gaming that today’s announced state action will put their “funds in peril.” Referring to online gaming, Willems added, “I don’t have a law that authorizes it, so it’s illegal,” in a statement that would outlaw even the most mundane daily activities and routines.
“Minnesota state officials have aggressively sought to deter internet freedom over the past few months. First legislators try to tax digital downloads, now bureaucrats want to censor the web,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “This is nanny-statism at its worst – the government barging into a private matter because people are supposedly too stupid to make decisions and take care of themselves. Individual liberty should not be supplanted by the whims of politicians looking to soak even more money from an over-taxed, over-regulated population while feigning concern over safety issues.”
Kentucky is also trying to shut down online gaming by attempting to seize 141 websites. Already having consumed a considerable amount of scarce state resources and taxpayer dollars, that case is now heading to the Kentucky Supreme Court.
“Minnesota’s effort to block access to Internet sites that allow gaming is nothing more than an attempt to block competition the state doesn’t like. If Minnesota state officials were truly concerned about the ‘societal impact’ of gaming they wouldn’t have sanctioned more than a dozen casinos in the state and would be making efforts to close them, too,” said Derek Hunter, executive director of the Media Freedom Project. “In the meantime the Department of Public Safety’s action violates the principles that govern the Internet, that it should remain open and free to legal transactions. Since the federal government has yet to clearly define what constitutes ‘illegal’ online gaming, Minnesota is now seeking to arbitrarily do it. ”