Three US senators have kept the issue of Internet gambling and poker in the spotlight and sent letters to the US Department of Justice and Attorney General. California’s Diane Feinstein, New Hampshire’s Kelly Ayotte and South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham first examined the December 2011 reversal of DoJ’s position on the Wire Act and are adamantly against online gambling. Based on a recent interpretation, the Wire Act states that the law will no longer ban betting over the Internet as long as it does not involve the outcome of a sporting event.
While the three senators are correct about the Wire Act, the rest of the letter seems to be written by lobbyists associated with Sheldon Adelson’s Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG).
The letter continues to say that the DOJ opinion could usher a change in gambling to a casino available 24/7. Adelson and Andy Abboud have used this tactic numerous times, and lawmakers have rejected it every time. As the letter continued, it spoke about opening the door to money laundering and other criminal activities, which has also been shot down. The proposed Graham bill has little chance of seeing a floor vote before the end of the term.
No Interest Before?
Before Sheldon Adelson, the three senators previously showed no interest in stopping Internet gaming or poker. Unfortunately, Adelson has thrown some money around and the CSIG has found the right points. According to the Charleston Post & Courier Poll, 68 percent of 1000 voters in South Carolina were opposed to Internet gambling. This is not surprising considering the state’s conservative leanings. However, it is important to consider the possibility of a manipulated poll.
The tax on Internet gambling has only been semi-successful, and the government did not make anywhere near the amount of revenue that they estimated.
How Other States are Doing
Individual states in the US are contemplating the study of online gambling markets in Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada to help them decide on their own legislation. Thus far, states have the option to create legislation for legalizing online gambling due to the 2011 Department of Justice reinterpretation of the Wire Act that exclusively banned sports gambling. However, the three senators have written a letter to the US Attorney General to place a federal ban on online gambling. Eric Holder has reportedly received letters from Lindsey Graham, Dianne Feinstein and Kelly Ayotte. The letter complained that virtual casinos make gambling pervasive and invades living rooms, bedrooms and dorm rooms across the country.
In March of 2014, Representative Jason Chaffetz and Lindsey Graham introduced a bill that would restore the Wire Act to make virtual casinos illegal.
Sheldon Adelson Background
The remarkable hypocrisy of the man behind the push for a ban on Internet gambling is astounding. Sheldon Adelson has a net worth of $37 billion dollars. He made his fortune from casinos, yet he seeks to ban the online casinos because it interferes with his brick-and-mortar casinos.
Echoing Sheldon Adelson
What you hear in the letter from the senators is essentially Sheldon Adelson. They talk about casinos being in every home and pocket, and they ignore the matter of unlicensed gambling sites available to everyone who has a cell phone. Dianne Feinstein continued to push against the expansion of gambling into California. Feinstein, a democrat, tried to say that the decision in December 2011 reversed more than 50 years of interpretation of the Wire Act. However, the DOJ’s first decision for the Wire Act and online gambling first took place in 2002; the opinion for online gambling was reversed nine years later. The Wire Act was written before the Internet existed.
Online Gambling a Change for the Worst?
Those who support Sheldon Adelson’s Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling do not seem to notice the bigger picture. They believe gambling will fundamentally change for the worse. However, the changes that occurred from regulated online casinos include:
- Jobs and a new industry coming to America
- States receive tax revenue
- Player funding is secured
The advantage of regulating and legalizing the online gambling industry is that it makes it safer for all parties involved. It creates a higher standard for the industry. With Internet gambling made illegal, it creates rogue companies that are more likely to rip off consumers. Legal online gambling brings protection to the consumers who choose to gamble online.