Saturday March 28,2015 : U.S. SENATOR EQUIVOCATES ON ONLINE GAMBLING BILL
Sen. Lindsey Graham is apparently ambivalent on state lottery sales.
South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, the man driving the Senate version of Sheldon Adelson's Restoration of America's Wire Act banning proposal, appears to be flexible on whether state online lottery sales are to be included in the prohibitions in his bill, currently at committee stage in both House and Senate.
According to the publication Gambling Compliance, Graham may be amenable to yet further carve-outs in his bill (currently fantasy sports, charitable gaming and online horse race betting are exempt).
Such an accommodation would help overcome one of the biggest obstacles to RAWA: concerns around federal intrusion on Chapter 10 states' rights to govern matters within their borders.
Apparently equivocating on the content of his bill, which is widely believed to have been drafted by Adelson lobbyists, Graham reportedly told GC he isn't looking to ban online lottery sales, and that his office is currently discussing the matter with unspecified persons with an interest in the issue.
That would seem to be at odds with comments earlier this year by Adelson lieutenant Andy Aboud, who opined that his boss would be unlikely to accept a state lottery exemption.
It would also seem to contradict the rather dismissive attitude toward state lottery officials recently exhibited by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who is managing the House version of RAWA.
A further, and major, exemption of this nature would leave tribal, casino and poker online gambling out in the cold and further dilute the Adelson banning initiative. It would still leave the problem of Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey, all of which have already legalised online poker, casino or both, and the matter of the growing use of online games in state lottery initiatives would remain.
Graham's concern over state lottery opposition to RAWA is understandable; this is a powerful lobby, and a growing number of states are looking to boost performance by going online with ticket sales and/or online games, with at least four states already active.