Anti-Internet Gambling Bill To Be Introduced By End Of MarchMarch 20, 2014 4:24 pm
In an effort to put an end to online gambling in the United States, Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is preparing to introduce his “Internet Gambling Control Act” to Congress next week, aimed at restoring the Wire Act’s pre-2011 reinterpretation. If Chaffetz’s bill eventually passes, all online gambling, including poker, sports betting and state lotteries will be prohibited, although horse racing has not been included in the list.
In 1961 the Interstate Wire Act prohibited most gambling businesses in the USA, while in 2006 the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) targeted the the country’s internet gambling market. By 2011, however, the 2006 UIGEA was re-interpreted to only apply to sports wagering, thus paving the way for states such as Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey to introduce regulated online gambling in 2013.
Nevertheless, the nascent industry has drawn the ire of anti-online gambling groups, such as the Sheldon Adelson backed Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, even though Adelson himself has managed to accumulate a $28 billion fortune from land-based casinos. Consequently, Adelson has pledged to spend “whatever it takes” to have online gambling banned from the country, and Congressman Jason Chaffetz’s bill is seen as an extension of the casino mogul’s ongoing anti-internet campaign. Commenting on Chaffetz bill, his spokeswoman M.J. Henshaw, said:
“For 50 years the Wire Act was interpreted one way, and then two days before Christmas, the DOJ decides to change that interpretation. The bill would restore the original interpretation of the Wire Act pre-December 2011, the one that was issued by the DOJ.”
Over the coming period, the battle between anti and pro online gambling interests will heat up on Capitol Hill, although how the issue willl be resolved is anyone’s guess. As one spokesperson remarked, “All bets are off.”
In favour of internet gaming proponents, however, will be objections to online lotteries being included in the bill’s black list, in addition to fears online players will simply continue gambling on unregulated offshore sites.