On October 19, Chris Koster and Alan Wilson, the attorney generals of Missouri and South Carolina, respectively, sent a letter to other attorney generals all over the US in a bid to convince them to support Sheldon Adelson’s anti online gambling movement and the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA).
It is a two-part letter, the first part of which appeals to the attorney generals to support RAWA and the second part is just an attachment that is to be sent to the heads of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees after the attorney generals sign it. The intended recipients of the second part are Representative John Conyers, Representative Bob Goodlatte, Senator Chuck Grassley, and Senator Patrick Leahy.
Wilson and Koster explain in their letter that the Office of Legal Counsel of the Department of Justice (DoJ) modified its interpretation of the Wire Act of 1961 in 2011, according to which accepting sports bets over wire transmissions, including the Internet, is illegal and that this does not apply to other forms of gambling.
They wrote: “DOJ’s revised interpretation of the Wire Act opened the door to expansive Internet gambling and has had significant negative impacts on our states from money laundering to exploitation of children to helping finance terrorist organizations. Additionally, the expansion of online gambling has undermined state and local law enforcement efforts to outlaw gambling which is prohibited in many states. As such, we urge Congress to adopt the Restoration of America’s Wire Act.”
Surprisingly, the authors say that online gambling regulation has been ineffective in New Jersey. They claim that the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) had announced that illegal gaming sites that been operating in NJ from 2013 will not be prosecuted as long as they stop operating in the following five months.
The writers have apparently failed to understand that this decision was taken because David Rebuck, the DGE director, understood that online poker was a grey area after the passage of the UIGEA and therefore decided to adopt the “no harm, no foul” approach to affiliate sites promoting unlicensed online gambling sites. The affiliates complied with these regulations and stopped promoting unlicensed US-facing networks such as Merge Gaming and Winning Poker, which subsequently withdrew from New Jersey.
They have completely ignored the fact that licensed online gaming sites in Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada are very successful in verifying player location and age.