Will Jeff Sessions affect the US iGaming Industry As AG?

by Jim Hall

Jeff SessionsOnline gambling may be at risk in the United States now that Jeff Sessions holds the Attorney General position.

In the past, online gambling was readily available in the United States. Players could log online to casino or poker sites and enjoy their favorite games for real money. By 2011, the federal government intervened in the industry and accused online gaming providers of being in violation of the law. Since that time, changes were made to the law that provide individual states the right to offer such gaming yet again. However, now it seems the industry may be at risk due to the recent appointment of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions now becomes the US Attorney General.

Jeff Sessions as AG

Jeff Sessions has spent two decades in the United States Senate as a congressman for the state of Alabama. He now will move on to Washington, DC as he was just signed in as the United States Attorney General. Many are unhappy with this decision for a number of reasons. Sessions has been seen as too conservative for the position as well as accused of racism in the past. As far as gaming is concerned, the new AG has stated that he could not believe the ruling by the Obama administration to allow gaming to take place online and he would be reviewing the change in the law made by the Department of Justice in 2011.

Sessions will now be in charge of the DOJ and could decide to review the decision by the department in 2011 when an opinion was issued on the Wire Act of 1961. The new opinion changed the Wire Act to allow for online gambling to take place, in casino and poker form. Sports betting is still prohibited. The changes were made due to the measure needing to be updated due to the internet now being commonplace.

The worry about Sessions stems from comments made during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that took place in January. In the meeting, Senator Lindsey Graham asked Sessions of his views on the judgement from 2011. Sessions stated that he was ‘shocked’ to see the interpretation of the Wire Act basically rewritten.

Sessions stated that he did not oppose the opinion when it happened but it seemed to be unusual. He would revisit it and make a decision based on careful study. A threat to the online gambling is not necessarily imminent as the AG will have other pressing matters to attend to but it is still something that many are worried about.

Trump Still Has No Stance

President Trump still seems to have not made an official stance on gaming but many hold out hope that he will be in favor of online gambling continuing to be allowed on a state by state basis, if not seeing federal regulation created. Trump is no stranger to the gaming industry having owned casinos in the past.

In the US, the only states that have passed legislation in regards to online gaming is Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey. Over the past few years, more states have shown interest but none have actually passed legislation. Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Mississippi, Michigan, New York and many other states are looking for a way to offer online gaming. The revenues that can be created from such offerings can help to pad the budget. In the United States, most states are unable to meet their growing budgets and online gaming helps to bring money to programs such as education, senior programs and more.