Déjà Vu as Senator Lindsey Graham Authors Another Anti-iGaming Letter

November 29th, 2017 | by Kaycee James

Anti-online poker senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Dianne Feinstein (D-California) have resumed their fight to have the Wire Act (1961) restored.

Senator Lindsey Graham

Senator Lindsey Graham revives his anti-iGaming push but without any new evidence to support his arguments. (Image: CNN.com)

In a letter sent to Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, the two senators call for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to revisit its 2011 interpretation of the Wire Act.

Calling attention to a similar letter written three years ago, both Graham and Feinstein give their opinions on the perceived threat of online gambling.

Wire Act Doesn’t Apply to iGaming

When the DOJ acquiesced to calls for the Wire Act to be re-examined, it concluded that the federal ban on wagers placed via telecommunication devices only related to sports betting. The decision was in response to a letter from Senators Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Jon Kyl (R-Arizona).

After the District of Columbia enacted a law allowing the sale of lottery tickets online, the senators asked the DOJ if intrastate online lottery ticket sales contravened the Wire Act. On reflection, the DOJ said that anything that wasn’t sports betting didn’t go against the law.

As well as opening up the market for states to offer their own online lotteries, the 2011 decision paved the way for the intrastate poker and casino gaming that Graham and Feinstein now oppose.

New Letter, Same Arguments

Using similar rhetoric to casino owner but anti-iGaming advocate Sheldon Adelson, the senators suggest that “online gambling takes gambling too far.”

Aside from concerns regarding fraud and money laundering, the letter asserts that the online industry “preys on children” and society’s “most vulnerable.” Although the letter is absent of any evidence or data to back-up the claims, Graham and Feinstein want the issue to go before Congress.

At this stage, those opposed to online poker and casino gaming can only call out from the sidelines. Without an official debate in Congress, letters aimed at prompting some sort of action are the best Graham et al can hope for.

Given that all attempts to restore the Wire Act over the last few years have failed, it’s unlikely the latest letter will force the DOJ to make a move.

Indeed, without any new evidence, opinions or rhetoric, that latest shot is nothing more than a rehashing of a plea that was unsuccessful three years ago.

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