US Congress Gearing Up For Online Gambling Battle

The US online gambling market is becoming a wedge issue socially and politically across the country, as well as having repercussions for Canada.  A collaborative approach to looser yet regulated online gambling laws between the US and Canada could establish a secure and profitable industry.

But some members of the US Congress, led by Senators Lindsey Graham and Jason Chaffetz are attempting to return to pre-2011 days when online gambling was strictly prohibited in the US.  The Senators introduced legislation that would return components of the US Wire Act, which prohibited all forms of online gambling.

The Wire Act was amended in 2011 after lawmakers determined the language only prohibited online sportsbetting, but there were no prohibitions against other methods of gambling like slots, blackjack, roulette, or poker.  This allowed many states, led by Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey to legalize online gambling within their jurisdictions.

The Graham-Chaffetz legislation has been opposed by numerous organizations like the Poker Players Alliance as well as politically motivated groups like the Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection (C4COP).  Representatives of these organizations argue the language in the Wire Act states online gambling, outside of sportsbetting is allowed to be authorized by states as they see fit.

The North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL) is also speaking out against the anti online gambling movement.  David Hale, Executive Director of NASPL, wrote a letter to Senator Graham condemning the attempt to set the US back from the modern market.

Gale reiterated the amended Wire Act by telling Senator Graham that states are able to “determine the games that are offered, as well as the manner in which they are being delivered to their customers.” Gale’s letter was also posted to the C4COP website to show unanimity in the pro online gambling position.

The Graham-Chaffetz bill must be put to a vote in Congress, but representatives can bet on lobbying from C4COP, NASPL, PPA, and other organizations – as well as pressure from constituents to think rationally before voting on the bill.

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