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Jim Myers

Lipparelli goes to bat for online gambling during RAWA hearing

10 December 2015

WASHINGTON — A key lawmaker used his own committee Wednesday to try and breathe new life into his anti-online gambling bill while Nevada State Sen. Mark Lipparelli told lawmakers of the successes chalked up by the Silver State and two others with legal Internet gaming.

"From a regulatory and law enforcement perspective, Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware have been successful," Lipparelli testified.

"Where there were concerns over licensing, protecting children and the vulnerable, player protection, taxes, money laundering, and geolocation, these states have had good success."

Instead of trying to shut down online gaming, Lipparelli, a Republican who has years of experience on gambling issues as a former member and chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board but who made it clear he was speaking only for himself, urged lawmakers and others to focus on illegal gaming operators

In response to questions by U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., Lipparelli also described the transparency that is built into Nevada's approach and way the system records information and action of bettors.

His comments came during a hearing held by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which is chaired by Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz.

Earlier this year, Chaffetz introduced his bill that would reverse a 2011 memo by the U.S. Department of Justice declaring that the 1961 Wire Act, which deals with the transmission of wagers, applies only to sports betting and not poker and casino-style gambling.

That memo, he said, opened the door to online gambling in all 50 states.

Chaffetz said his bill, H.R. 707, would take the U.S. back to pre-memo days and force those who support online gambling to introduce a bill that would go through regular order and leave the issue to an agency interpretation.

For months, his bill has been stalled in the House Judiciary Committee, and a subcommittee hearing earlier this year did not seem to build much momentum.

Wednesday's hearing in his own committee also seemed to produce mixed results as members at times expressed concerns about squaring efforts to leave such issues to states to sort out or giving that kind of authority back to the federal government.

When asked about such comments, Chaffetz said it was an oversight panel's job to understand both sides of an issue.

"You are dealing with a lot of members who don't understand how technology works," he said, repeating one of his major concerns about the inability to limit online gambling to only those states that have taken steps to legalize it.

"It is nearly impossible to create these virtual walls. That's fantasyland."

When asked to describe the biggest obstacle he faces in getting his bill moving, Chaffetz said "the imperative needs to be impressed upon my colleagues."

He said he plans to continue to beat the drum and draw attention to the issue.

Titus, who is not a member of the committee but was granted time to ask questions, pointed to the lack of specific information to back up concerns expressed by some about online gambling.

"The testimony made it very clear that Nevada can — and does — carefully and effectively regulate gaming," Titus said after the hearing.

Lipparelli was joined at the witness table by Joseph Campbell, assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division; South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson; and Donald Kleine, county attorney of Douglas County, Nebraska.
Lipparelli goes to bat for online gambling during RAWA hearing is republished from