Pennsylvania Politicians Split on Issue of Federal Online Gambling BanPublished September 8, 2017 by Elana K
Two Pennsylvania politicians speak up about a federal ban on online gambling - one staunchly for and one staunchly against.
The issue of online gambling is a hot one in Pennsylvania, at both state and federal levels. Pennsylvania has been seriously discussing legalizing online gambling within the state for at least two years, but no forward movement has been made. And recently, two politicians have spoken up about a federal ban on online gambling, one staunchly for and one staunchly against.
For the Federal Ban
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick took up a congressional seat in 2016, and like his brother, who occupied the seat before him, he has been outspoken in his support for a federal ban on online gambling.
He is reportedly drafting a letter asking the Department of Justice to revisit the issue of online gambling, specifically, the 2011 decision that ruled that states can legalize online gambling if they wish.
Rumors link Fitzpatrick’s support of a federal ban to casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who owns Sands Bethlehem Casino near the Republican’s district, and who is possibly the most famous anti-online gambling proponent in the country.
Against the Federal Ban
Former US politician Ron Paul recently wrote a piece for a Pennsylvania news outlet against the federal ban on online gambling, stating that such a ban would threaten “the constitutional rights of all Americans.”
During Paul’s tenure as a US Representative, he was known as a champion of states' rights, so his stance on the federal ban is not surprising.
A federal ban on online gambling is nothing new - the idea gained momentum in 2014 under the name RAWA - Restoration of America’s Wire Act - and was championed by Sheldon Adelson. Despite heavy lobbying, the bill petered out in 2016, mainly due to the claims that it trampled on states’ rights.
Today, however, some politicians are still intent on seeing it through, and may try to sneak a RAWA-esque bill into 2018 legislation. The same issue of states’ rights remains, however, so even with the power of Sheldon Adelson behind them, they won’t have an easy time getting it passed.