Adelson's Water

Three senators ask DOJ to restore online gambling ban

Three supporters of a bill to ban online gambling in the U.S. through a toughening of the federal Wire Act have sent a letter asking the Department of Justice to return to a former interpretation of the act that saw online gambling as illegal.

In other words, to have the DOJ simply return to a tougher interpretation of the Wire Act.

A letter was sent to Attorney General Eric Holder by U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (South Carolina), Diane Feinstein (California) and Kelly Ayotte (New Hampshire). The three are sponsors of a bill to toughen the Wire Act and specifically ban online gaming, but the bill has made little progress in Congress.

“The clock is ticking,” the letter says. “We must act before we find virtual casinos making gambling pervasive in our society, invading living rooms, bedrooms and dorm rooms across the country—a result we know the DOJ does not want to see.”

In 2011, the DOJ issued an opinion that the Wire Act addressed only sports betting, and states were free to authorize online gambling within their borders. Three states—New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware—have done so and several more are considering the idea.

“Left on its own, the DOJ opinion could usher in the most fundamental change in gambling in our lifetimes by turning every smart phone, tablet and personal computer in our country into a casino available 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” the senators said. “We note that a number of states are now considering authorizing internet gambling, which poses a significant threat to states that have banned or limited gambling.”

The letter employed some of the rhetoric applied by Sheldon Adelson’s Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling. Adelson, chairman of Las Vegas Sands Corp., has been spearheading a movement to ban online gambling, and is seen as the main architect of the proposed federal bill.