Federal Anti-Online Gambling Bill to be Introduced

March 4, 2014

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham (D) is planning on introducing a bill that would ban online poker at the federal level. This is in direct contradiction to Senate majority leader Harry Reid, who is working with Nevada Senator Dean Heller (R) towards an exemption for online poker. However, Graham has adamantly expressed that he is very much against exempting online poker from the act.

The 2006 UIGEA technically illegalizes online poker, but since the US Department of Justice re-interpreted their stance on this law, states have begun the process, and three have already gone live, to legally allow online poker to their residents.

Currently, Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada have allowed online poker to residents within state boarders, and Nevada and Delaware have forged an agreement to allow interstate Internet poker. Illinois and California will likely be the next states to open up regulated online poker sites for their residents.

However, Graham is hoping to put an end to all of it, including the states who have already launched successful online gambling markets.

There are a number of legislatures who are against online gambling, and some are even looking to criminalize it.

Graham said, “I don’t think it is a good idea for the country. South Carolina is not a big gambling state… A lot of damage can be done to the society in general. Again, the law enforcement community has been pretty universally against it in South Carolina and you can see a pretty wide coalition of cops and religious leaders coming together.”

The new bill would seek to rewrite the Wire Act of 1961 to add an online gambling ban to other prohibitions already depicted in the act. If the Democratic-controlled Senate were to pass the bill, the House of Representatives would then have to pass it.

But some Americans and the PPA are confused. Sheldon Adelson, who has blatantly slammed online gambling and made it a federal ban his mission, was a major contributor to Heller’s 2012 reelection campaign, contributing at least $7 million. However, if we’ve learned anything from Adelson, it’s that his money doesn’t always work in the political arena.


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