US AG Removes Himself from Federal iGambling Ban Discussion

by Jim Hall

Jeff SessionsUS Attorney General Jeff Sessions has decided to recuse himself from discussing a federal online gambling ban.

The United States government continues to have issues after Donald Trump has taken over the role as President. Connections are believed to exist between members of Trump’s cabinet as well as with the President himself and Russia which has led to a number of investigations. Currently, Jeff Sessions, the US Attorney General, is believed to have connections with Russia and this has indirectly complicated the plan by Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson to see online gambling banned in the United States.

Back Story

For some time now, Sheldon Adelson has been spending a ton of cash to see online gambling banned in the US on a federal level. Adelson reportedly backs Trump along with other government officials and of course, for his support, he wants to see the officials do what he wishes, which would be to pass RAWA or some form of legislation in order to block online casino and poker gaming from taking place.

This past Friday, it was reported that US Attorney General Jeff Sessions had chosen to recuse himself from any discussions in regards to undoing the 2011 Department of Justice Opinion in which individual states can choose to allow online gambling themselves. This can be done on a number of fronts, such as casino or poker gaming, but none are allowed to offer sports betting.

Only three states have chosen to pass legislation, Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada. However, several states are currently in the process of passing legislation to offer casino or poker gaming or both. Back in January, Sessions stated during his confirmation hearing that he disagrees with the decision from 2011 in which online gambling was allowed on a state level. He stated at the time that he would revisit the opinion once he was officially the US AG.

Complicating Things

It seems that recent decisions by Sessions has now complicated matters in regards to online gambling discussions. He hired attorney Charles Cooper to help with congressional investigations in a number of areas including the subject of former FBI director James Comey being fired. In the past, Cooper was a lobbyist for a group created by Adelson known as the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling. This group was pushing to see Congress prohibit iGambling on a federal level.

Adelson remains a big contributor to republican campaigns and cause including the 2016 election bid by Trump and his inauguration. Cooper has stated that he already completed the lobbying activity for the Coalition to Stop Internet Gamblin but Sessions decided that he will no longer have any input on the matter of Online Gambling due to Cooper’s involvement in the office.

It is believed that now, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will be presiding over the matter, which is still not good. Rosenstein has shown anti-gambling tendencies in the past when he was the attorney general for Maryland.

It seemed the RAWA efforts had stalled and fizzled away last year but remnants seem to be popping up here and there in 2017. Representative Charlie Dent was reportedly trying to add RAWA style language within an appropriations bill that had to be passed by September’s end if the states are to continue to function normal.

While efforts are still being made, it seems a shift has taken place within individual states. More seem to be interested in some form of gambling online which should help to deter any major changes, at least on a federal level.