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National Governors Association against US Online Gambling Ban

- May 21, 2014 By Oliver Young -

National Governors Association

The National Governors Association opposes US online gambling ban on federal level

In a letter from the Economic Development Committee, the National Governors Association (NGA) has come out in opposition to the efforts of Senator Lindsey Graham and Rep. Jason Chaffetz that would ban online gambling in the United States.

The letter of the governors raised strong concerns against the Internet Gambling Control Act of 2014 that is believed to be backed by Las Vegas Sands Corporation and billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson.

The letter reads:

“The nation’s governors are concerned with legislation introduced in Congress that would ban online Internet gaming and Internet lottery sales because it challenges the federal-state relationship.”

Federal Online Gambling Ban

The Internet Gambling Control Act proposes that all forms of online gambling in the US must be banned nationwide. This includes online casino, online poker, sports betting and state lotteries with the exception of horse racing. Graham and Chaffetz together with Adelson introduced similar bills that would ban online gambling in March 2014. They strongly believe that online gambling is harmful to underage children who may easily access such sites from their mobile devices. Adelson said that he would do “whatever it takes” to make online gambling illegal in the US.

Governors are Concerned

The letter of the National Governors Association written to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker John Boehner clearly reads that the governors oppose the ban. They say that the Internet Gambling Control Act would take away the rights of the states to regulate gaming within their borders.

“The regulation of gaming is an issue that has historically been addressed by the states. Regardless of whether governors are in favor of offering gaming — through whatever form — within their own states, decisions at the federal level that affect state regulatory authority should not be made unilaterally without state input,” reads the letter.

“A strong, cooperative relationship between the states and federal government is vital to best serve the interests of all citizens.”

Others also oppose the ban. The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) is against the ban of online gambling, however, there are some governors that are cheering the bill. Republican governors, namely South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Texas Gov. Rick Perry support the ban.

Is This the End of US Online Gambling?

Online gambling had been banned for years by the Justice Department until the policy was reversed in 2011. It limited the Wire Act to apply only to sports betting. This resulted in some states to push forward the idea of online gambling. As of this writing, Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey have approved online gambling. Moreover, a couple of other US states are considering the idea of legalizing online gambling within their borders.

However, if the ban succeeds it will have a huge impact on the progress made so far in the three states and it would wipe out all efforts to allow online gambling in the US.

The letter of the National Governors Association dates May 9, 2014, but it was made public two days ago.

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