A New Crusade Against Net Betting Is Hatched in Minnesota

13 October 1999
Former Minnesota Attorney General Hubert Humphrey III (dubbed HHH 3.0 by IGN correspondent Glenn Barry) made a name for himself among the Net betting ranks in 1995 as one of world's first crusaders against online gambling. An article published October 12 at Startribune.com reveals that his successor, Mike Hatch, has taken the torch and run with it.

Hatch (not to be confused with U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, who also hates gambling) told the Star Tribune that he intends to be a leader in the fight against online gambling. He joined the fight silently this spring when he finished the tag-team bout, started by HHH 3.0, against California businessman Kerry Rogers. Humphrey sued Rogers in '95 for false advertising and deceptive trade practices because Rogers operated a website--WagerNet.com--that published intentions of offering bets over the Internet. Humphrey left office before getting a decision from the court. With Hatch in the captain's seat, a settlement was reached in which Rogers agreed to post a disclaimer on his site pertaining to Minnesota citizens--an anti-climatic ending, considering that Wagernet.com has been out of operation for quite some time.

Hatch hardly made a statement by settling for an agreement instead of pursuing the $25,000 fine sought by his spunky predecessor, but he insists that he will diligently fight online gambling and that it will not be tolerated in his state. "We're taking them one at a time to get court decisions in our favor, rather than a scatter-gun approach," he said, although he didn't say who they were going after and how they were going to do it.

He did, however, acknowledge that offshore companies were out of his reach. "If it's offshore, it's going to be tough," he said "In a state, it's easier to deal with. You can serve them and get an injunction."

Along with sealing the Granite Gate Case, he's also thrown in his two cents on Missouri and Idaho's efforts to prevent the Coeur d'Alene Indians of Idaho from offering their lottery over the Internet. His office recently issued an amicus brief on the long-running case. "We only want lotteries in the state that are properly regulated by the state," he said

Hatch compares his views to those of Luther Youngdahl, a former Minnesota governor who crusaded against gambling a half-century ago. Now sitting in the governor's chair is pro wrestler-turned politician Jesse Ventura, who just happened to beat Humphrey in the gubernatorial election, to give you an idea of how the people of Minnesota feel (not that it really matters).

Based on his comments, Hatch's stance doesn't really involve the interests of Minnesotans. "I just don't like gambling," he told the Star Tribune. "The less of it, the better. It's wrong."

Fortunately for the farming and culinary industries, former President George Bush didn't pursue such harsh measures upon uttering, "I just don't like broccoli."

Mark Balestra

Mark Balestra is the Managing Director at BolaVerde Media Group. He previously worked at Clarion Gaming and the River City Group where he was the publisher of iGamingNews. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri.