Minnesota craps out with online gambling ploy

At a time of record joblessness and a struggling economy, state officials are putting their efforts where they will do the least good: toward banning their citizens from accessing online gambling websites.

According to this Yahoo Finance story, which was prominently linked on the Drudge Report yesterday evening, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety is trying a "novel" technique -- using a federal law that restricts the use of phone lines for wagering.

And by "novel," we mean "sure to fail."

[John Morris, general counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington] also noted that the law appears to apply to phone companies directly doing business with bet-takers. But American restrictions on online gambling have already forced gambling sites overseas, where U.S. ISPs have no direct links to them.

"I think this is a very problematic and significant misreading of the statute," Morris said.

In fact, this line of attack is so weak sauce, that even the target is laughing in the general direction of the public safety department:

"We're calling their bluff," said a statement from Matt Werden, the Minnesota director of the Poker Players Alliance.

Online gambling operations based in Europe and operating on the internet are surely not the most pressing problem facing Minnesota leaders. We can only guess their March Madness  brackets got busted and this is their way of dealing with it.