(Population of 5.457 million as of 2014)
Back in 2009, the Minnesota Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division (AGED) issued an order for internet service providers to blacklist nearly 200 iGaming sites including Full tilt Poker, Bodog, and Everest Poker. The Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA) filed suit over the order, and eventually the whole debacle petered out.
Still, the situation was indicative of the Gopher State’s strict stance against iGaming, which also upheld a jurisdiction appeal regarding an out-of-state Internet gambling service provider in Minnesota v. Granite Gate Resorts, Inc., 568N.W.2d 715 (Minn. Ct. App. 1997).
While Minnesota may have once stood resolute against using the Internet for gambling purposes, things seem to have changed a bit in recent years. In September 2012, it legalized electronic pull-tab machines, which the state would latertry to use to help raise money toward a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings. During the lead up to e-tabs projections estimated Minnesotans would spend $1 billion on electronic games.
That’s a big number, and there have been several pieces of legislation introduced to the Minnesota House of Representatives, many seeking to establish online gaming studies. Unfortunately all of those proposals have failed.
There have also been several grassroots attempts to help fuel the iGaming conversation. For instance, Mike Qualley, the Minnesota state director of the Poker Players Alliance, wrote an op-ed for the Star Tribune earlier this year titled “It’s No Bluff: Don’t Ban Online Poker.”
“The fact is, licensed and regulated online poker sites are using effective technology for age verification, finding problem gamblers and helping them, and stopping criminal activity, including money laundering,” Qualley wrote. “The same type of technology is being used by the Minnesota State Lottery for its online sales.”
In May 2015, Minnesota suspended online lottery games. This time, in comparison to the last veto that Gov. Mark Dayton used to keep the electronic ticket sales at gas pumps, through ATMs and over the internet, Dayton stayed quiet and decided not to veto it.
According to the local CBS affiliate in Minnesota, the lawmakers thought the lottery went too far, allowing the state to sell electronic, instant-play games.
Since then, it’s stayed fairly quiet in Minnesota.