Posts Tagged ‘UTA’

Salt Lake City to Levy Fines for Online Gambling in Public?

by , Jun 16, 2009 | 7:30 pm

photo: Brendan Sullivan / Deseret News

Not all over the place — but on its buses at least, and maybe at the airport.

The Utah Transit Authority, which polices Salt Lake City’s FrontRunner train system, has passed an ordinance prohibiting using its free wifi to surf porn, engage in online gambling, or view other “inappropriate” websites. Violators face a $300-$500 fine. The Salt Lake City airport will offer free wifi starting July 1 — and they are deciding whether or not to enact similar anti-poker online prohibitions.

Big Brother implications and presumptive poker outrage aside, I gotta say, this really ain’t so bad. There should be local option elections, as opposed to a federal (or even state) law prohibiting certain behaviors. And the UTA ordinance doesn’t prohibit playing online poker in other public places — just on their trains when using taxpayer-funded wi-fi systems. I’m not so sure I’d want my Mormon kids to see the results of a kid hopped up on Red Bull getting two-outered at the bubble of a WSOP main event qualifier.

In fact, I’d rather have this method — punishing violators — than pre-emptive filters — which I have found in some airports to block out legitimate news sites that happen to cover gambling, such as Pokerati CardPlayer.

The one technical question, however, is what happens if you happen to be using your own air card? Is the ordinance written in such a way that makes online wagers over the UTA’s service the misdemeanor, or is it the location? Will be an interesting case when some kid home for the summer from BYU finds himself going deep in a Sunday Millions and is running late to meet his parents at church.

Watch the local-news vid below for a decent exploration of the legal issues involved — mostly as they relate to porn but also for the online gambling that’s lumped in with it: