US Congress Refuses to Ban Online Gambling in Spending Bill

Published December 15, 2014 by Lee R

US Congress Refuses to Ban Online Gambling in Spending Bill

Land-based casino interests lobbied hard but unsuccessfully to add prohibitions.

The US Congress has refused to pass federal laws that would ban internet gambling.

No Language Prohibiting Online Gambling

This fact was confirmed by the lack of any language or itemization in this week's budget to prohibit online gambling, despite heavy lobbying from Las Vegas Sands casino owner Sheldon Adelson who ostensibly would prefer to make land-based casinos the sole form of gambling available to the American public.

Adelson sought to include provisions that would reinstate laws to ban internet gambling that would preclude online gambling as a source of revenue to cover the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill drafted by Congress for the next nine months for government departments and public works.

Currently, the Interstate Wire Act of 1961 is the primary legislation that bans internet gambling, but that was designated by the Justice Department in 2011 to apply only to sports betting.

Silence is Golden

According to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada (one of the few states where gambling is legal), the debate over the permissibility of online gaming in America would formally conclude if the spending bill was silent on the issue, and this is exactly what has happened.

This marks the third consecutive Congress that has failed to reach an agreement on web gambling policy or prohibition, meaning that by default online gambling has not been formally banned or limited.

“If we can’t get (online gambling into the language of the) omnibus, it won’t be in anything,” said Reid said in an interview regarding the topic of online gambling prohibition.

Prominent Online Operators Satisfied

Nevada and New Jersey site game operator Caesars Entertainment expressed happiness with the omission of anti-internet gaming language from the omnibus bill.

The Las Vegas Journal Review quotes Caesars senior vice-president of government affairs Jan Jones Blackhurst: “We believe that banning internet gaming is bad public policy from our perspective. We’re pleased this issue will be discussed openly and not hidden in some omnibus bill.”

See also

EU Criticizes US Online Gambling Ban

Paypal Returns to Online Gambling in US

Bratislava Bans Gambling Citywide

Pennsylvania's Latest Online Gambling Bill Moves Slightly Forward in the Senate

Singapore May Soon Outlaw Online Gambling

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