Three US Senators Send Letter to DOJ Supporting Bill Banning Online Gambling

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As part of a campaign to put the brakes on internet gambling in the US, three Senators sent a letterto Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday asking for his agency’s support for a bill that would reinstate the Wire Act and rid the US of online gambling, even those sites in regulated markets.

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The letter, penned by Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC, pictured), and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), references the Department of Justice’s 2011 opinion that the Wire Act of 1961 should only prohibit sports betting, not intrastate online gaming. “Left on its own, the DOJ opinion could usher in the most fundamental change in gambling in our lifetimes by turning every smart phone, tablet, and personal computer in our country into a casino available 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” the letter read.

Earlier this year, Graham, along with Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), introduced a Federal bill dubbed the “Restoration of America’s Wire Act,” which seeks to reinstate and clarify the original DOJ view that all internet gambling should be prohibited. The legislation was spurred by casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson (pictured) and his Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling and was purportedly written byDarryl Nirenberg, one of the tycoon’s own lobbyists.

The letter to Holder continues to parrot CSIG talking points, highlighting that “the FBI has warned [i-gaming] will open the door to money laundering and other criminal activity,” and claiming that the industry “is bound to prey on children and society’s most vulnerable.”

Recent studies by Harvard Medical School, on the other hand, seem to refute the idea that easy access to casinos will increase the number of problem gamblers in society. That research, conducted by Howard J Shaffer, found that for the most part, internet bettors gamble sensibly and within their means.

If Adelson and his acolytes get their wish, then not only would new states be prohibited from offering internet gambling, but Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey would be forced to shut down all gaming sites that have already been approved and are currently in operation in those states.

Curiously, the Senator’s letter then asks Holder point blank: “Since you have changed DOJ’s interpretation of the Wire Act… will you support the legislation we have introduced to respond to your reinterpretation of the statute?”

Some observers believe lawmakers like Graham are merely paying lip service to Adelson, who has donated around $31,000 to the South Carolina Senator since 2009; $15,600 of that money went to Graham’s campaign in 2013, a short time before he suddenly became interested in the issue of online gambling.

After GOP rising star Eric Cantor’s stunning defeatin the Virginia Republican House primary, analysts have stated that lawmakers will be playing it safe and avoid taking sides on controversial issues like internet gaming. “If there is anything Washington hates, it’s uncertainty,” one insider told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Not just internet poker, nothing is going to move forward in Washington,” said another.

Others, like Texas Governor Rick Perry (pictured), who would need Adelson’s financial backing in a 2016 Presidential bid, have written letters of concern as well. “Allowing internet gaming to invade the homes of every American family, and be piped into our dens, our living rooms, our workplaces, and even our kids’ bedrooms… is a major decision,” he said in his own note to Congress. “We must carefully examine the short- and long-term social and economic consequences before internet gambling spreads.”

But Graham seems to think that his bill could gain traction, saying, “We fully expect the Senate will act on our legislation this year and it is our intent to do whatever we can to make that happen.”

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12 COMMENTS

    • 3 is not enough….specially when they got adelsons name anywhere attached..

      sorry boys, this political tool is long since been liberated by your majority

    • OK,lets ban all smart phones ! Well at least now we know how much a senator cost these days,lets see.I believeSA had spent $360K lobbying, split in 3, makes 120k each. Maybe the phone companie can pay the rest of the senate like 121K each ?

    • I used to get super pissed when he made news with throwing all his money around. I really don’t anymore. I don’t think he has a leg or wheelchair to stand on. Even with his billions, times are a changing. What’s gonna happen when he’s gone in a few years? Is his money going to continue to pay off senators for the crusade vs online gaming? No. I’m normally a pessimist, but there’s no way they shut down 3 states that have jumped through all these hoops to legalize everything. Way 2 many reasons this doesn’t make sense. Even if somehow they do pass his dumb bill the black market of offshore sites will continue through bitcoin or some other venture, which would be even worse imo.#DIAGFshelly

    • Banning online gambling is a good idea – just leave online poker out of it.I think there is just cause to have genuine concern over casino games being so easily accessible (mobile devices)…. People with tendencies to gamble who wouldn’t seek out gaming of their own accord but can’t resist the urge to bet, when at a finger tip’s reach, should be protected from harm.There should be a clear definition between games vs the house with -EV & games with large skill elements where the house is not a competitor. But I guess they’re (Adelson & co) not really interested in that; rather the $$$ turning over in their casino’s… It’s just so obvious you’d hope there are some intelligent people in America’s law system that can see through it and refuse to succumb.