Thursday May 29,2014 : IS ADELSON INVOLVED IN NEW FEDERAL INTERNET GAMBLING BILL?
Latest draft has much in common with the the Chaffetz-Graham bills but carries a poker carve-out that could be a compromise.
Yet another federal draft bill seeking to ban online gambling has surfaced in Washington DC and is being circulated among politicians, according to a report from respected and reliable journalist Jon Ralston on his Ralston Reports site.
Ralston has published a draft of the report, commenting that although its origin is not yet clear, it looks very much like a Nevada-inspired proposal and bears a close resemblance to the Adelson-backed Graham-Chaffetz bills currently before Congress….but with an exemption for online poker that could be a compromise designed to dilute opposition to the original blanket banning attempt.
There are also similarities with a bill that Nevada Republican Senator Dean Heller was working on earlier this year
See the draft here: http://www.ralstonreports.com/blog/new-poker-only-web-gaming-bill-hits-dc#.U4aNmvkmYeQ
The draft bears the rather ponderous title “Internet Gambling Prohibition and Control Act of 2014” and appears to seek the update and strengthening of the old 1961 Wire Act, rendered toothless from an online casino and poker perspective by the Department of Justice's decision in December 2011 that the antiquated law applies only to sports betting. In that respect it has a similar objective to the Graham-Chaffetz bills.
The draft includes a number of other exemptions in addition to online poker, including activity exempted under the UIGEA; interstate horseracing; and intrastate lottery transactions (designed no doubt to de-fang states' rights objections)
The online poker carve-out is couched in language that also appears to be sensitive to the autonomy of individual states and tribal groups, proposing that an exemption shall apply in the cases of "…bets or wagers on poker, but only in, between or among States and Indian tribes that have expressly authorized that activity, or among States and Indian tribes that have expressly authorized that activity, including pursuant to Tribal-State or State-State compacts or agreements.”
Online casino gaming remains a major prohibition, however.
Coming on the heels of the American Gaming Association's recent announcement that it is standing back from the prickly and divisive online gambling issue (read Adelson's emphatic opposition and reported threats to exit the trade association) and the Nevada-centric nature of the draft, speculation is rife that some sort of deal is being engineered behind closed doors.
Such a deal would have to be capable of placating the growing opposition to Congress tinkering with states' rights, and the already substantial investments made by major gambling groups in online gambling activities in legalised markets like Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey.
And any attempt to give Nevada an edge would certainly be opposed.
The consensus among observers at present appears to be that against such strong state-level and corporate opposition, and in an election year, even this sort of compromise is unlikely to succeed.