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Poker News

U.S. Senators Revive Efforts to Ban Online Poker

Written By: Maya Michaels | November 29, 2017 | Posted In Poker News

Only a month ago, Pennsylvania became the fourth state in the U.S. to legalize online poker and gambling and joined New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware.

If you recall, the legislature passed the gaming bill in October, and after the senate and the House voted, the bill pended Governor Tim Wolf to officially sign it. Wolf signed bill H 271 and it became the law so daily fantasy sports, sports betting, online poker and gambling became legal.

And now, two U.S. Senators, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), are trying to revert the trend and ban online poker in the United States.

The two senators sent the letter on November 21, to Trump Administration and specifically to U.S. Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, asking him to reverse the Wire Act Clarification. The clarification was issued by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel in 2011 and allowed the states to launch online betting industries. Should he reverse the clarification, online gambling would immediately become completely illegal in the U.S.

This is not the first time Graham and Feinstein oppose to online gambling.

With the help of billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who owns and operates some of the world’s largest land-based casinos, the senators asked California lawmakers not to legalize online poker and to restore the 1961 Wire Act.

Wire Act was originally designed to prevent organized crime by making sports betting over phone lines illegal. Decades later, the Department of Justice included all gambling over the internet in it but the Office of Legal Counsel clarified it in 2011, so the Wire Act applied to sports betting only.

Their most recent letter is said to be full of misinterpretations and even says that “the FBI has concluded that ‘online casinos are vulnerable to a wide array of criminal schemes,’ including money laundering and ventures by transnational organized crime groups.”

What the FBI actually said is that illegal, offshore online gambling could be used for criminal activity and that a prudent online casino could easily detect and sanction such illegal methods and activities. The difference between legal and illegal gambling wasn’t made anywhere in the letter.

The letter came in just in time for the United States Supreme Court Hearing on December 4, on constitutionality of a 1992 federal law that bans sports betting outside a few states and as soon as sports wagering is legalized, online gambling will follow right behind it.

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