Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Steve Tetreault Archives
More Strategy Experts

Gaming Guru

Steve Tetreault

Lawmakers wrestle with proposed ban on legal Internet gambling

26 March 2015

By Steve Tetreault
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Lawmakers on Wednesday wrestled with a bill that seeks to ban legalized gambling on the Internet and roll it back in the few states — including Nevada — where it has been approved in some form.

A hearing before the House Judiciary crime subcommittee broke little new ground as a panel of expert witnesses reviewed arguments in favor of restricting online gaming, and arguments in favor of allowing it in states that might want it and believe it can be regulated effectively.

But it was the first step in the new Congress for the legislation that would reverse a 2011 legal opinion from the Department of Justice that said the Interstate Wire Act of 1961, which covers the transmission of wagers, applies only to sports betting and not poker or casino-style games.

As a textbook issue, Internet gambling provokes debate on federal versus state powers and the effectiveness of technologies employed to keep the games fair and limited to adults.

As a political and economic matter, the issue pits casino companies and lottery providers who want to develop new revenue streams online against figures — including a major one in billionaire Sheldon Adelson — who believe there is harm to society for people to cast Internet wagers, be it at a virtual poker table, an online slot machine or by clicking to buy a lottery ticket.

With the hearing completed, the next step is a Judiciary Committee session where the bill will be opened for amendment and votes. After failing to pass the bill during a post-election session, proponents of the online restrictions have picked up where they left off in the fall.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., declined to talk with reporters about the bill. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, the sponsor of the Restoration of America’s Wire Act bill, said he expected the legislation to advance, but couldn’t say when.

“We’re doing the hearing for a reason,” he said.

In talking with reporters, Chaffetz also rejected the criticism that the legislation carries water for Adelson, the chairman and chief executive of the Sands Corp, a major Republican contributor who has financed major lobbying to halt online gaming and roll it back. New Jersey and Delaware have legalized casino gaming online while Nevada has approved poker-only.

At the hearing, lawmakers wrestled with legal ramifications of the bill.

Copyright GamingWire. All rights reserved.


AG nominee Lynch unlikely to reverse DOJ course of web gambling

17 February 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch has signaled it is unlikely she would reverse a landmark Department of Justice opinion that opened the door to legalized Internet gambling and also sparked a backlash against it. Lynch said if confirmed she would review the 2011 memo from the ... (read more)

Bill to outlaw online gaming resurfaces in Congress

5 February 2015
WASHINGTON — A Utah congressman on Wednesday reintroduced a bill that would reimpose a federal ban on wagering over the Internet, reigniting a debate that has split the gaming industry and sparked a broader discussion over the spread of gambling. The measure by Rep. Jason Chaffetz would roll back a ... (read more)

McCain calls for hearings on expanded sports betting

2 February 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- With all eyes on the Super Bowl and the billions of dollars being wagered — mostly illegally — on the game, Sen. John McCain says Congress should hold hearings whether to expand legalized sports betting that now largely is limited to sports books in Nevada. McCain, R-Ariz., said he ... (read more)

Next 10 Articles >

  • Featured Articles

Online gaming ban omitted from government spending bill

WASHINGTON — Congress in its final major bill of the year unveiled Tuesday declined to support a call by billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson for a ban on legalized Internet gambling.The $1.1 trillion measure would fund most government operations through September of next year, making it a must-pass measure. ... (read more)

Draft of Web poker bill circulating on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON — A draft bill that would legalize poker playing on the Internet is being floated on Capitol Hill, but Nevada Sen. Dean Heller said Tuesday there is no sign that it will move in any direction.Heller said he has been briefed on the bill by Caesars Entertainment Corp. lobbyist Haley Barbour. ... (read more)