Saturday April 19,2014 : U.S. ONLINE GAMBLING BAN SUPPORTERS SEEK DEBATE (Update)
Graham and Chaffetz say their legalization "…calls a time-out and allows debate to take place."
The latest op-ed aimed at lawmakers through the Washington DC publication in The Hill appears to suggest that moves to reinstate a stricter and more specific Wire Act are really just about creating a time-out and space for legislators to debate and better inform themselves on online gambling.
The two Republican politicians pushing for the restoration of the Wire Act and an effective ban on all internet gambling, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz, again attack the 2011 decision by the US Department of Justice that the Wire Act applies only to sports betting, and urge a debate before legalised online gambling spreads to further states.
The op-ed carries little that is new and consists mainly of the Adelson-inspired and now very familiar talking points that are intended to persuade politicians to support the banning initiative, which could have far-reaching implications for states' rights and almost all aspects of internet-based wagering, including lucrative online ticket sales by individual state lotteries, and the reversal of already established regulatory regimes in Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware.
Politicians have thus far hardly been flocking to offer their support, and a number of influential state bodies have come out against the Chaffetz and Graham bills and the rather tenuous arguments being put forward in their support
The two politicians make no secret of their personal views on internet gambling, stating: "We unequivocally oppose the legalization of online gaming. However, whether one supports or opposes online gaming, there are valid reasons to subject this far-reaching decision to public scrutiny."
Claiming that the DoJ policy reversal "…unleashes the potential for a completely unregulated gambling industry to be imposed nationwide," the duo suggest rather belatedly that such a fundamental change in policy should be "…driven from the bottom up, not imposed from the top down. A full and fair hearing process is the right approach. We should hold Congressional hearings, consider legalization, have a public debate and hear the whole spectrum of arguments on this topic before ultimately taking a vote."
These demands, they reason, make it necessary for the reinstatement of the Wire Act to create space for the debate to take place.
Reading between the lines, it could also be viewed as a move to close the internet gambling door before the other ten states reportedly considering online gambling legalization make any further progress.
Chaffetz and Graham do not appear to have a high regard for the ability of states to look after their own regulatory affairs; they comment in the article:
"It’s hard to see how the rollout of an [federally] uncoordinated and unregulated new gambling industry wouldn’t be botched. In states where casinos operate legally, they are subject to strict regulation. However, online gaming implicates a host of issues that traditional brick and mortar gaming does not."
In general the op-ed again deploys the questionable scare tactics that have become the hall-mark of the Adelson initiative against online gambling, regurgitating very questionable comments regarding FBI opinions and questioning the technological and enforcement capabilities of individual states when it comes to underage and problem gambling, geolocation, criminal involvement and money laundering, although mercifully they have left out the terrorism threat this time around.