Online Gambling Ban Being Discussed Again in US

by Kyle Miller

Online Gambling BanTwo Senators send letter to DOJ asking for support in doing away with the legality of online gambling in the US.

Currently, four states in the US have legalized online gaming options including casino and poker gaming. New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada were the first to offer real money gaming online. Last month, Pennsylvania decided to legalize and regulate online casino and poker offerings. The actual gaming should not get started until 2018, but the passage of iGaming in the state should help other states in the US feel comfortable in passing similar legislation. However, if two senators have their say-so, online gambling will be banned across the board.

Two Senators Speak Out Against the Industry

It seems the legalization of iGaming in Pennsylvania was a final straw for two United States senators. Senators Diane Feinstein and Lindsey Graham both signed a letter that was sent to the Department of Justice in the hopes of seeing the 1961 Wire Act reviewed and changed back to its former state. Both senators have been firm opponents to the industry over the past few years.

The first issue in the letter discusses the 1961 Wire Act. The senators stated that the 2011 opinion of the Wire Act by the DOJ was a reversal of 50 years of the Wire Act’s interpretation. However, it is important to note that the internet was not a factor when this law was first written.

The senators seem to twist information to meet their opposition stance within the letter. In one portion of the letter, the senators state that the FBI was able to conclude that online casinos are vulnerable to criminal schemes of a wide variety. The FBI actually was able to conclude that offshore online gaming that is illegal in the US could be used for criminal activity.

The letter also discusses state’s rights. The senators stated that the states that have passed legislation to legalize online gambling are infringing on the states rights that are not offering such gaming. This is not the case and geolocation helps in this regard. Users must be located within the designated state in order to take part in gaming legally. Take New Jersey for example, players must be located within the state borders for gaming to begin. New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware have all proven that their geolocation technology works and provides access to gaming only within their borders. This helps to ensure that other states rights are not infringed upon.

Changes Could Be Coming

It could be that changes are seen in the future that help states offer online gaming and avoid any issue with federal involvement. New Jersey is currently preparing to have a sports betting case heard by the United States Supreme Court. The main point of contention is to whether or not the states should have the right to legalize such gaming options on their own. Being considered is the Professional & Amateur Sports Protection Act. If this legislation is repealed, the states in the US would have the right to decide whether or not to offer sports betting.

With this change, states should also not have to worry if the federal government would have a say-so in their online gambling rights, be it to offer such gaming as online casino offerings or to avoid the industry altogether.

Despite the senators penning this letter, it seems that online gambling is not going anywhere in the US and players may soon have even more options to enjoy online.