Despite three states already offering online casino and/or poker gaming, plus several states running online lottery options, certain conservative groups are still trying to stop the activity. Several groups have joined the efforts by legislators to see a full ban of online gambling across the United States, even shutting down states that already offer the activity such as New Jersey.
The list of conservative groups includes; Concerned Women for America, Focus on Family and specific Christian organizations who are opposed to same-sex marriage and abortion. It was on Wednesday, these groups showed their support for Representative Jason Chaffetz and his efforts to pass a federal online gambling ban.
Chaffetz is pushing the Restore America’s Wire Act, a measure that would reverse a decision of the Justice Department in 2011 that confirms previous high court decisions that say the Wire Act of 1961 applies only to sports betting, and does not apply to online lottery sales or casinos. Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey are the only states in the US that have been able to pass legislation and begin offering online gambling for residents.
Speaking out on the subject, President of Let Freedom Ring, Colin Hanna, stated: “Internet gambling is a game changer. Certainly any decision to undermine this law, and unleash internet gambling on our country, should not be left to a lawyer burrowed in the Justice department.”
These conservative groups are also part of the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling which was created by Sheldon Adelson, the Chairman of the Las Vegas Sands. Millions have been given by Adelson to support efforts to ban online gaming on a federal level.
Proponents of online poker and casino gaming such as the Poker Players Alliance try to fight Adelson’s efforts with donations of their own, lobbying for the activity. However, Adelson’s pockets run deep and he seems to have an unending stream of monies to be used to lobby for a ban.
The Executive Director of the Poker Players Alliance, John Pappas, stated that the legislation (RAWA) ‘does nothing to stop unregulated Internet gambling in the United States and in fact, only makes it harder for America’s law enforcement to protect vulnerable consumers.” Thus making the activity particularly dangerous as it prohibits states from being able to authorize and safeguard their citizens.
Editor’s note: Although lobbying efforts and most campaign contributions from Adelson and his wife Miriam are a matter of public record, and Rep. Chaffetz claims to have not accepted any money from Las Vegas Sands or its owners, Super Pacs who contributed 62% of his 2014 election fundraising moneys are able to hide their true finances by accepting money from so-called social welfare nonprofits like anti-gambling coalition member Let Freedom Ring, making it next to impossible to know if Adelson is funding Chaffetz’s efforts indirectly.