US Governors Worried About Online Gambling due to New AG

by Jim Hall

With Jeff Sessions in the position as the new Attorney General of the United States, governors are worried about the federal government interfering with online gambling.

Online gambling has changed quite a bit over the past few years in the United States. Since 2013, states have had the ability to legalize and regulate online gambling within their borders, if legislation was able to pass muster. So far, only Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey have been able to pass bills to allow some form of online gambling. Other states have shown interest in the past but this year seems to be the year that a new state may actually join the others in offering such gaming options online.

Over the years, opposition has been seen from legislators both federally and within state government. Even casino operators have tried to stop online gambling from taking place in the US, including Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson. Now, with a new president in place and a new US Attorney General at the helm, many United States governors are worried that the federal government will begin meddling in online gambling affairs.

Enter Jeff Sessions

Jeff SessionsThe new AG for the US is Jeff Sessions of Alabama. Sessions has already stated that he was shocked at the ruling made by the Department of Justice in regards to online gaming in the US and would be looking into the reinterpretation of the Wire Act of 1961. Now, it seems a few legislators have sent a letter to Sessions showing their concern as to what he plans on doing with the industry.

The letter was sent to Sessions and signed by Governor Terry McAuliffe and Governor Brian Sandoval. The two are members of the National Governors Association and urged the new AG to not take any action in regards to online gambling before considering individual states rights. Many are wondering why the letter was sent now, since Sessions made remarks about online gambling back in January when he was taking part in a confirmation hearing for the new position. It seems the letter is a delayed response by the NGA.

In the letter, it states that the individual states should be allowed to decide if online gambling as well as lottery sales should be legalized and regulated. The letter points out the three states currently offering iGaming and how these states use strict regulations and protocols for consumer protection.

NGA Continues to Support States Rights

The NGA has a proven track record when it comes to being a voice for states’ rights. Back in 2014, the group sent a letter that was similar to this one, urging legislators to vote against RAWA. The RAWA legislation would have stopped online gambling from taking place in the US but thankfully was unable to pass muster.

It seems that there may be no clear answer as to what will happen in regards to online gambling in the US. There are many legislators in favor of the industry and allowing states to choose individually if they want to take part. Yet, there are also those who are against such gaming options and want to stop any activity from taking place across the board.

This is not the first letter to arise in regards to the subject of online gambling. Late last year, ten governors decided to send a letter to Trump in order to see RAWA put into action. Another letter was then sent by Representative Dina Titus stating why RAWA did not need to be put into law.

We will have to wait and see what Sessions decides to do but as for right now, it does not seem that online gambling is on the agenda.