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Operation Chokepoint Halted by Trump’s Administration

- August 21, 2017 By Oliver Young -

Chokepoint prevented banks from working with certain types of entities, including online gambling companies.

The US Assistant Attorney General announced that the Operation Chokepoint is stopped with immediate effect.

The debate regarding the attitude of the Trump administration towards online gambling and gambling in general has been ongoing ever since the current President was elected and especially since he stepped in office. Trump’s win on the other hand caused a huge stir in the online betting industry, as his win against the odds, caused a lot of operators to lose money. Trump betting markets remained popular in the period after the election.

Those who hope of gambling legalisation in the US, or at least a less restrictive approach were eager to see how will the new administration act towards online gambling and the possibility of its legalisation. Many were worried that Trump’s friendship with Sheldon Adelson might have a negative effect, especially since the latter is one of the biggest opponents of online gambling legalisation. Supporters of online gambling legalisation were released to find out that the relations between Trump and Adelson are no longer good.

Assistant Attorney General Halts the Operation with Immediate Effect

One of the first decisions of Trump’s administration regarding online gambling seems to be a positive one. The current administration decided to adopt a less restrictive approach towards online gambling in the US by halting the so called Operation Chokepoint which was introduced in 2013. Obama’s administration launched the operation in an attempt to prevent banks and other institutions from cooperating with companies that are connected to online gambling and related businesses.

The Chokepoint directive allowed the Deposit Insurance Cooperation which acts on a federal level to determine whether a company is associated with activities that include high risks and then based on their guidelines, banks were supposed to refuse to cooperate with particular entities.

The Chokepoint Operation particularly targeted online gambling operations and grouped them together with known Ponzi schemes, as well as companies that trade tobacco, coins or guns and ammunition.

The Operation was stopped immediately and the House Judiciary Committee, i.e. its Chairman Bob Goodlatte was informed of this decision by the US Assistant Attorney General. The Assistant AG, Stephen E. Boyd informed the Chairman that a similar operation will not be launched soon, as this administration considers it to be a misguided attempt of the previous administration.

Matters in the Hands of the Justice Department Now

The current administration intends to deal with such matters through the Department of Justice. The Department started that it will take legal action only in the cases where there is factual evidence for given actions, adding that the law will be enforced regardless of the political preferences. The Department will no longer prevent any bank or financial institution from doing business with legally registered companies of any industry.

Operation Chokepoint was considered to be quite controversial and it was heavily criticised in the US Congress, especially in the Committee on Oversight and Reform. In 2016 there was attempt to stop the Operation Chokepoint through the House. Namely, a bill called Financial Institution Customer Protect Act which was submitted in 2015 was passed. Two Republican Senators, including presidential candidate Ted Cruz tried to pass complementing legislation in the Senate, but their attempt wasn’t successful.

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