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September 25, 2020

Letter sent to Trump, Pence targets Wire Act 'Restoration'

State AGs sign letter supporting online poker ban

State AGs sign letter supporting online poker ban
Despite Nevada already having a regulated online poker industry, the attorney general of the Silver State has joined nine others from across the country in supporting a Sheldon Adelson-backed plan to outlaw the activity across the country.
United States | 12/06/2016

Despite Nevada already having a regulated online poker industry, the attorney general of the Silver State has joined nine others from across the country in supporting a Sheldon Adelson-backed plan to outlaw the activity across the country.

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here’s been backlash to the move, with Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett speaking out against their Attorney General, Adam Laxalt.

In addition to Laxat, the top law enforcement officers in Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah urged President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence in a letter dated Nov. 17 to “help in restoring the Wire Act’s provisions.”

In late 2011, the 1961 Wire Act was re-interpreted by the Obama Department of Justice to allow states to launch real-money online casinos and internet lottery services within their respective borders as long as it didn’t include sports betting.

Earlier that year, the DoJ indicted the owners of the major offshore poker sites doing business with Americans in an event known as Black Friday

Adelson, a casino owner with a net worth of $33 billion according to Forbes, said several years ago that he thinks online games hurt brick-and-mortar casinos. There have been hearings on RAWA legislation, but so far nothing has gained traction.

The last hearing was a year ago, when Rep. John Chaffetz (R-Utah) held a public discussion on his version of a legislative attempt to prohibit online casino games.

While Trump is a former Atlantic City casino owner who is largely favorable to gambling, Pence has a history of opposition to online gaming. He not only has supported RAWA efforts, but he also was in favor of the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

In addition to Nevada, online casinos are legal and regulated in New Jersey and Delaware. The Garden State had nearly $150 million in online gaming revenue in 2015, which was more than 90 percent of the market between the three states.

Online gaming revenue is up about 30 percent so far in 2016 for New Jersey-sanctioned sites

As for Adelson, he recently took a swipe at poker in an interview with Yahoo Finance. The 83-year-old said that poker isn’t a game of skill.

Adelson has a casino in Pennsylvania, which took a hard look this year at legalizing online casinos. Other states considering online poker include California, New York, Massachusetts and Michigan.

RAWA becoming law would end the efforts in those states and potentially shut down the existing industries in Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware. There was speculation around past RAWA efforts that state lotteries could receive a carve out to allow them to continue selling tickets online.

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