Las Vegas Sands Corp chairman Sheldon Adelson has been the biggest opponent to the legalization of online gambling in the United States. The 84 year old billionaire has personally financed “The Coalition To Stop Internet Gambling”, which has campaigned for the 1961 Wire Act to be restored.
Pennsylvania Legalizes Online Gambling In October
The Coalition To Stop Internet Gambling has had a lot of success in the past. There are allegations that Adelson who has strong political ties has used his influence to get legislators in different states to oppose the push to legalize online gambling.
The 1961 Wire Act is what the previous Obama administration amended to give each state the power to decide whether to ban or permit online gambling. Pennsylvania became the fourth state in October to legalize online gambling and joined Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey.
Two U.S Senators Send Letter To Trump Administration
Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are reported to have sent a letter on November 21 to the Trump Administration. The Senators want the Department of Justice (DoJ) to restore the 1961 Wire Act that will strip state governments of the power to legalize online gambling.
Senator Lindsey Graham has campaigned aggressively in the past for online gambling to be banned. It is a little surprising that Senator Dianne Feinstein has also joined the anti-online gambling campaign, given the fact that she is a member of the California legislature.
California is one of the states that has debated the possibility of legalizing online gambling for the last few years. There are some market analysts who remain optimistic and believe that California could become the fifth state to legalize online gambling in the near future.
This could be one of the main reasons why Senator Feinstein has called on California lawmakers to maintain their ban on online gambling.
The Anti-Online Gambling Letter Says:
“Pennsylvania has recently enacted legislation authorizing internet gambling, and other states are lined up to follow suit. Online casinos are already operating across state lines pursuant to compacts, and states are contemplating opening up their online casinos to foreign markets. We fear that unless the DOJ promptly revisits its 2011 opinion, our prediction that online casinos could spread across the country could come to pass.”
The letter goes on to point out that online gambling takes advantage of the weak and vulnerable in society. If lawmakers were to restore the 1961 Wire Act, it would strip each state of their power to legalize online gambling and a blanket ban would be imposed.
Online Gambling Activists Not Threatened By Senators Letter
Online gambling activists have campaigned long and hard to get online gambling legalized throughout the United States and are not intimidated by the letter from the two senators. They have seen more progress in 2017 than they have in the past three years.
Not only did Pennsylvania become the fourth state to legalize online gambling in 2017 but New Jersey also signed an agreement with Nevada and Delaware for online poker shared liquidity.
The American Gaming Association (AGA) and the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) are optimistic about the future of online gambling in America. They are keeping a close watch on the Supreme Court’s decision regarding New Jersey’s lawsuit to overturn the ban on sports betting.
New Jersey Sports Betting Ruling Could Boost Online Gambling Push
New Jersey has challenged the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) which bans sports betting. The Supreme Court is expected to make a decision on the matter on December 4 and many gaming analysts believe that the Court will rule in favor of New Jersey.
If New Jersey succeeds in getting the PASPA act overturned, it will be a key turning point for all the other states, who could also look to legalize sports betting in their respective states.
New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) director David Rebuck said that if New Jersey wins the ruling on sports betting, more states will follow suit and that will also automatically open the door for online gambling to be legalized.