The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has formally approved a resolution opposing any federal ban on online gambling.
At a summit held recently in Minneapolis, the NCSL made it clear that online gambling legislation should be left up to individual states to decide. That action was taken in response to the federal bills introduced earlier this year by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) that aim to reinterpret the Wire Act and ban all forms of online gambling.
As many readers are aware, a 2011 ruling by the DoJ that clarified the Wire Act paved the way for states to proceed with online poker and gambling legislation. Efforts to overturn that ruling have been intitiated by Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson and his Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG).
The CSIG is behind the Graham/Chaffetz legislation and has stepped up efforts to prohibit online gambling regulation in the U.S. since the organization was formed late last year. Adelson is viewed by many as a hypocrite for making his fortune through land-based casino gambling, yet opposes Internet gambling under the guise that children and problem gamblers cannot be protected.
In attendance at the summit to oppose the resolution adopted by the NCSL was Las Vegas Sands Vice-President on Goverment Relations & Community Development, Andy Abboud. An Adelson minion, Abboud has appeared at numerous hearings to speak on behalf of the anti-online gambling concern.
The resolution approving opposition to a ban on Internet gambling specifically states that any such federal legislation
diminishes the flexibility of state legislatures to be innovative and responsive to the unique needs of the residents of each state. The NCSL requests that the federal government
involve state legislators in any federal efforts that seek to reform the regulation of online gaming.
There are a number of states such as Utah that have already taken steps to outlaw online gambling. The NCSL makes note of that fact in the resolution by asking federal lawmakers to
be respectful of state legislatures that prohibit online gaming or other forms of gaming within their state.
The battle between online gambling activists and those in opposition will likely continue for quite some time. Several states are in the process of considering igaming legislation and oddsmakers believe that there is a good chance that more states will join Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey with approved regulation in 2015.
With regard to online poker, it’s been envisioned by many that states choosing to enact legislation eventually form interstate partnerships in order to increase liquidity. Delaware and Nevada have thus far agreed to such an alliance, but have not yet launched. More states need to participate and many likely will as long as the NCSL and other pro-online gaming forces are able to stave off the attempts at prohibition being waged by Adelson and his supporters.