Legislators and lobbying groups who have opposed the legalization of online gambling in America, have had a lot of success in the last 4 years, as none of the states debating the possibility of legalizing online gambling were able to pass a new bill to overturn the ban.
Things changed dramatically in favour of online gambling lobbyists in October! This has upset anti-online gambling lobbyists and as a result, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina and Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein from California have joined forces and sent a letter to the Trump Administration calling on the Department of Justice (DoJ) to reinstate the 1961 Wire Act, which will impose a federal ban on online gambling legalisation.
Four Quiet Years For Online Gambling Lobbyists
Pennsylvania, New York and California were among the ten states discussing online gambling legalization. These ten states were allegedly pushing from 2013 to get an online gambling bill approved but could not reach a consensus in the state legislature. During the last four years, Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware were the only states to have licensed online gambling operations.
The lack of progress made by the online gambling industry was a feather in the cap of anti-online gambling lobbyists. ‘The Coalition To Stop Internet Gambling’ financed by billionaire and Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson played a key role in influencing state legislators to vote against online gambling legalization.
Online Gambling Lobbyists See Turnaround
Things looked bleak for the online gambling community in the U.S, as 2017 appeared to be yet another year where progress to legalize online gambling had come to a standstill. However, online gambling lobbyists started to see things finally go their way from October 2017.
It started out with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signing an inter-state liquidity agreement with Nevada and Delaware. This agreement allows New Jersey to share its online poker market with Nevada and Delaware, thereby increasing the online gaming market in each state. A little later in the month, Pennsylvania announced that it had decided to legalize online gambling and become the fourth state in the country to offer legalized online gambling services.
Senators Want DOJ To Reinstate FedWire Act
The two senators want the DoJ to reinstate the 1961 FedWire Act that will remove the state’s power to decide on whether they can legalize online gambling. The Wire Act was modified under the Barack Obama administration and gave each state the power to determine whether they wanted a legalized gambling industry in their state.
Senators Graham and Feinstein want the Trump Administration to amend the changes made by the Obama administration and restore the FedWire Act. If this happens, then online gambling will come under the jurisdiction of the federal government and not the state government. The restoration of the FedWire Act will result in a blanket bank for online gambling throughout the country.
The letter to the DoJ says “Pennsylvania has recently enacted legislation authorizing internet gambling, and other states are lined up to follow suit. Online casinos are already operating across state lines pursuant to compacts, and states are contemplating opening up their online casinos to foreign markets. We fear that unless the DOJ promptly revisits its 2011 opinion, our prediction that online casinos could spread across the country could come to pass.”
Online Gambling Lobbyists Have Positive Outlook
Online gambling lobbyists like the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) have campaigned tireless for the legalization of online gambling for a number of years. Online gaming lobbyists are not worried about the recent letter to the DoJ calling for the 1961 Wire Act to be restored. This is not the first time that anti-online gambling legislators have tried to get the Wire Act restored. Their efforts have failed so far and there is a very slim possibility at the moment that they will get their wish granted.
Another reason for online gambling lobbyists to remain positive is due to a Supreme Court hearing that is expected to take place on December 4. New Jersey has petitioned the court to overthrow the PASPA 1992 Act which bans sports betting. Should the Court grant New Jersey’s request, more states will look to legalize sports betting and online gambling legalization efforts will get a major boost.