Saturday August 23,2014 : GEORGIA LOBBIES AGAINST FEDERAL ATTEMPTS TO BAN ONLINE GAMBLING
States' rights and lottery success the reason to combat Adelson proxies and their attempt to resurrect the Wire Act.
Another US state – this time Georgia – has come out against proposed federal bills seeking to ban online gambling in the United States by resurrecting the Wire Act.
The bills, launched by Republican politicians Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah, and currently stuck in committee stage, are believed to be associated with land casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson's campaign against online gambling.
This week the Georgia Lottery Corporation sent supporters a fact sheet on the impact such a ban would have on its internet sales, warning that it would have to shut down if the Chaffetz-Graham bills were approved by Congress.
The lottery began to sell tickets online in November 2012, one of the nation’s first lotteries to expand sales to the Internet, and the online project has been a resounding success. Online ticket sales generated more than $6.6 million last year, sending nearly $2 million to the HOPE scholarship and pre-kindergarten programs.
Lottery officials claim that a ban would also impact the payment of prizes electronically and the conduct of second chance draws through the internet.
In a letter to a senior lawmaker in the Congressional House of Assembly this week, lottery chief Debbie Alford slammed the Chaffetz – Graham bills and claimed they would effectively end an online distribution channel that “…continues to be critical to our success and our ability to grow revenues for education.”
“Innovative and effective methods of increasing revenues are central to keep up with rising costs of providing education, and the incremental sales growth provided by this channel plays a vital role in that effort,” she wrote.
In all, lottery officials estimate that the proposed legalization would create a loss of $39 million in funds for the lottery-funded programs – which the lottery translated into a loss of nearly 7,000 HOPE scholarships or 11,000 pre-K participants.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, a Republican, has been silent on the lobbying effort by the lottery thus far, but is known to be an Adelson fan.
The Washington DC publication Politico quotes him as recently saying: “Politics requires a large sum of money nowadays to be successful, and it’s nice to have people like Sheldon who are willing to support causes they believe in.”