Lawmakers Urge Attorney General Jeff Sessions to Review 2011 Online Gambling Ruling
According to The Hill, Senator Mark Warner is the latest American politician vocally opposing the legalization of online gambling. In a July 5 letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Warner urged the AG to review a 2011 Department of Justice ruling that essentially gave all 50 states individual rights to legalize Internet betting within their respective borders.
Warner said that gambling websites are “especially fertile platforms” for money laundering, collusion and a number of other unsavory activities. The Senator added that iGaming services pose a serious threat to the general American public, especially vulnerable members, due to their “potentially predatory nature.”
During his rather explosive confirmation hearing earlier in the year, Attorney General Sessions said he would like to review the aforementioned 2011 memo. He said he was “shocked” by the DoJ’s decision and that he would make a decision of his own on the matter following extensive study.
While he was serving as a Senator from Alabama back in 2011, Sessions was one of several lawmakers to oppose the memo. In a general sense, the move allowed states to approve the legalization of online gambling and allowed states to create their own regulatory framework for betting regulation. The Department of Justice’s decision included the legalization of casino games, including poker, but excluded sports betting.
The memo was an attempt by the government to clarify the Interstate (Federal) Wire Act of 1961 that said that gambling services via wire were illegal. The 2011 DoJ ruling said the 1961 law applied only to sports betting. Opponents of Internet gambling have been calling for a reversal of the 2011 decision as well as the subsequent federal ban on iGaming.
Other House and Senate members have been trying to get another bill, called the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), through Congress for quite some time. The bill, which is notably supported by American casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, has been unsuccessfully pushed thus far.
Earlier this month, AG Sessions had to recuse himself from a separate online gambling ruling despite his earlier vow to act on the matter. Sessions was forced to make that decision as a result of a conflict of interest.
In June, it was reported that Sessions had hired attorney Charles Cooper to be his outside counsel in the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Cooper has previously worked for an anti-online gambling group that was lobbying against the 2011 DoJ memo.
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