Group of State Lawmakers Oppose Online Gambling Ban

National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has voiced its opposition to the recently introduced federal proposal seeking to ban online gambling.

In a letter sent to each Congressional member, the group strongly spoke out against the Sheldon Adelson-backed proposal that was introduced by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) last week. That legislative effort, the Restoration of America’s Wire Act, aims to keep other states from passing online gambling laws as well as to wipe out the regimes already operating in Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware.

Led by Oregon Senator Bruce Starr, the NCSL urges lawmakers to allow individual states to continue making their own decisions regarding whether or not to approve online poker and gambling. The group insists that the federal bill to ban online gaming is a solution seeking a problem,.

The letter further points out that states such as Maine and Utah that are not in favor of Internet gambling legislation have already taken steps designed to keep their residents from gambling online. Utah, which remains one of only two states without any form of legalized gambling, long ago enacted a statute prohibiting the state from opting into any blanket federal Internet wagering plan.

The issue of online gambling regulation has become more heated in recent months following the forming of the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) in December. With billionaire casino mogul Adelson pulling the strings and funding the cause, online poker and gambling legislation, represented by groups both for and against, is now in the forefront.

While Adelson is one of the wealthiest men in the world and has vowed to throw an unlimited amount of cash into the pot in order to ban Internet gambling in the U.S., many believe he will come out on the short end of the fight. The 80-year-old is no stranger to funding losing efforts, as he reportedly donated millions to the failed campaigns of Republican candidates in last year’s elections.

The Graham-Chaffetz proposal to ban online gambling seeks to restore the 1961 Wire Act, which forbade Internet gambling until the DoJ issued a reclarification in December, 2011. It appears that Adelson and those opposed to online gambling are expending efforts a bit too late. It would have made more sense to attempt to overturn that 2011 ruling before states began enacting online poker and gambling legislation.

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett