Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton has quietly introduced a new bill that would prohibit financial institutions from processing online gambling transactions to the US Senate on 21st of September. The bill is co-sponsored by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah).
Graham is known as the senator who filed a previous version of the bill called Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) back in 2015.
Senator Cotton introduced the bill only a day after online gambling nemesis Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam donated $20 million to a super PAC that backs Senate Republicans. It is believed that the super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund, has close ties to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). The contribution was made public on 20th of September.
The bill was read twice and it was further referred to the Judiciary Committee. This means, the legislation is open for debate and it may even be passed.
As it can be seen on the website of the Congress, S.3376 wants to “ensure the integrity of laws” passed to stop the use of financial instruments for operating or funding online gambling sites weren’t undermined by “legal options” that weren’t carrying “the force of law.” In other words, the bill is a “reaffirmation of prohibition on funding of unlawful Internet gambling.”
The document includes a section stating that the memorandum opinion for the Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, which is dated September 2011, wouldn’t have any force or effect when it comes to interpreting section 5362(10) of title 31, United States Code.
Namely, this is related to the Department of Justice decision made in 2011 that states that the Wire Act of 1961 applies only to betting on sports, while other types of gambling like poker and casino gambling were excluded, as courts have upheld for decades.
Cotton’s bill, if passed, would reverse the decision and possibly accomplish RAWA’s goal.