Attorney General Jeff Sessions Considering Federal Online Gambling Ban

Published April 25, 2017 by Elana K

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Considering Federal Online Gambling Ban

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reportedly considering reintroducing a federal ban of online gambling, which means that individual states would not have the right to legalize online gambling, and those that have already would need to halt operations.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reportedly considering reintroducing a federal ban on online gambling, which means that individual states would not have the right to legalize online gambling, and those that have already would need to halt operations.

States were given the right to legalize online gambling by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2011. Since then, Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey have allowed online gambling, and many more states are currently trying to authorize it as well.

Sheldon Adelson’s Influence

This is not the first time we’ve heard clamoring for a federal ban; Sheldon Adelson, casino magnate, staunch Republican supporter, and infamously opposed to online gambling, has been trying for years to get politicians to pass a bill entitled the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), which would, essentially, ban online gambling at a federal level.

Sessions may be acting under Adelson’s influence, as Adelson has donated millions to the Republican party.

However, Sessions won’t have an easy time should he try to implement a federal ban - the National Governors Association already expressed its opposition to such a ban in a strongly worded letter sent to Sessions earlier this month.

Background

The original Wire Act was passed in 1961 and prohibited certain types of gambling, namely, the kind done over a “wire" - in that time, a telephone or telegraph. The purpose of the bill was to tackle organized crime, which made most of its racket from sportsbetting.

When online gambling was developed at the end of the 20th century, it was lumped together with the types of gambling that were prohibited by the Wire Act. But in 2011, the DOJ recognized that online gambling is a different entity, and ruled that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting. And so, states won the right to legalize online casino betting within their borders.

RAWA had been labeled as a bill that tramples on states’ rights, and any similar legislation will undoubtedly be labeled the same. Sessions will have his work cut out for him should he choose to upset the current status quo.

See also

Nevada Gov. Sandoval Talks Online Gambling with AG Sessions

New Jersey Lawmakers Urge Trump to Leave Online Gambling Alone


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