Wednesday October 14,2015 : WARNING ON PROPOSED MORATORIUM ON INTERNET GAMBLING LEGALISATION
Competitive Enterprise Institute launches a pre-emptive strike.
With rumours of a federally-imposed two-year moratorium on internet gambling legalization strengthening in the United States, Michelle Minton of the Competitive Enterprise Institute launched a pre-emptive strike in an op-ed article in the widely read Washington DC publication The Hill Tuesday.
Like the struggling Restoration of America's Wire Act proposal currently stalled in Congress, which seeks to ban online gambling, the moratorium is believed to be the work of land casino billionaire and vehemently anti-online gambling crusader Sheldon Adelson, who is allegedly trying to introduce a stealth back-up if RAWA fails again this year.
Minton points out those proposals to ban online gambling have failed to gain traction in Congress and met significant backlash from state lawmakers and prominent libertarian and conservative groups that see a federal ban as an infringement on state sovereignty.
She goes on to note that such a moratorium would not interfere with the online games currently legal in New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada, but it would obstruct the legislative efforts currently underway in seven states considering legalization to legalise the activity, and it is not clear how it would affect online lottery sales that are currently legal in at least 13 states.
The article quotes Poker Player Alliance executive director, John Pappas who says: “An Internet gambling moratorium is nothing more than prohibition in sheep’s clothing. They can’t get RAWA through the front door so they are trying to squeeze it through the back.
“A moratorium is even more troubling for the notion of states’ rights and the 10th Amendment. It would give favored status to those states that already offer regulated iGaming and put the brakes on others who want to provide these consumer protections to their citizens.
“Of even greater concern, a moratorium does nothing to stop the unlicensed, unregulated overseas operators from continuing to flourish in the U.S. marketplace. It only tells states they can’t exercise responsible oversight.”
Minton outlines the political power that Adelson wields through his significant cash political donations, but cautions the Republican leadership in particular that there is considerable and vocal opposition to RAWA at both state and national levels.
"The National Governors Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, and Fraternal Order of Police all strongly oppose the federal government usurping state authority to regulate gambling within their borders. Conservative groups like Americans for Tax Reform opposed the bill for the same reason. The idea of a two-year moratorium will likely face similar opposition, for good reason," she warns.
Minton concludes that a moratorium deserves to face the same kind of opposition from state interests and conservative and libertarian groups as a ban.
"After all, a temporary violation of the 10th amendment [of the Constitution] is still a violation – one that could cost states millions of dollars in lost revenue and open the door for the feds to meddle in other controversial intrastate activities," she writes.