Governors Pen Letter to Jeff Sessions Voicing Concern Over States' Online Gambling Rights

Published April 10, 2017 by Elana K

Governors Pen Letter to Jeff Sessions Voicing Concern Over States' Online Gambling Rights

US governors voiced their concern about the federal government’s role in online gambling in a letter sent to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The letter urges Sessions not to take any actions regarding online gambling before considering states' rights.

US governors voiced their concern about the federal government’s role in online gambling in a letter sent to Attorney General Jeff Sessions last week. The letter, officially signed by Governors Terry McAuliffe and Brian Sandoval of the National Governors Association (NGA), urges Sessions not to take any actions regarding online gambling before considering the rights of individual states.

Why the Letter Now?

A little background is needed to understand the backdrop against which this letter takes place. During Sessions’ confirmation hearing in January, he remarked that he didn’t agree with the 2011 Department of Justice (DOJ) ruling that made it legal for individual states to allow online gambling. The recent letter sent by the NGA is a (somewhat delayed) response to those remarks.

Details of the Letter

The letter argues that the legalization and regulation of online gambling and lotteries should be left up to individual states to decide. It also points out that the three states that have currently legalized online gambling - Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware - all implement strict regulations and consumer protection protocols.

NGA's History of Supporting States' Rights

This is not the first time the NGA has made its collective voice heard in favor of states’ rights. In 2014, they sent a similar letter to congressional leadership, urging them to vote against RAWA, the proposed legislation at the time that would make online gambling illegal on a federal level. RAWA, they posited, is the essence of trampling on states' rights.

Will This Letter Make a Difference?

Since Donald Trump was elected as president of the US, letters have been flying back and forth. In December, ten governors wrote to Trump and his administration asking that RAWAbe revived. Democratic representative Dina Titus answered back with a letter of her own citing reasons why RAWA should not be re-enacted. 

In short, it’s unclear whether these letters are actually making any impact, or whether they are simply being written to take a stand. At this point, online gambling is not the top priority of the Trump administration, which means that for now, the 2011 DOJ ruling is safe and sound.

See also

Which States Are Most Likely to Legalize Online Gambling in 2016?

More States Line Up to Legalize Online Gambling

Michigan Introduces Bill to Legalize Online Gambling

What Does 2016 Hold for US Online Gambling?

Legalizing Online Gambling in Massachusetts May Save State Lottery


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