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Online Gambling in the US is Facing Serious Federal Pressure

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Jason Chaffetz, Utah Representative, considers following Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina, and introducing second bill seeking federal ban on all online gambling activities in the US.

Graham has been an integral part of the news as strong opposer of online gambling sites in the US, who is planning to even go further and launch a banning bill of this form of gambling. He is excluding horse races and fantasy sports from his ban plan and recently has also been related to the casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, who is said to be providing generous campaign donations to the Senator.

Graham is expected to introduce the banning bill next week according to Washington sources, which also report that a draft of the bill has been getting around selected Congressmen, despite the fact that a member of the Senator’s team, commented that currently there are no plans for exposing the bill.

Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader, is expected to oppose any change in the legislation, which touches upon horse racing, as this is a top priority in his home state Kentucky.

Sister bill

Two bills for the ban of online gambling in the US are expected to be introduced next week

• The first one is coming from Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina

• The sister one will be proposed by Jason Chaffetz, Utah Republican Representative

• Online gambling is currently allowed in three US states

Unfortunately for all online casino supporters there is another danger for the online industry, which is coming from Jason Chaffetz, Utah Republican Representative. His team was reported on their comments that he is getting ready to propose a sister bill to the Graham’s one next week.

All forms of gambling are currently banned in Utah according to the US gambling laws, the home state of Chaffetz.

Also, he hasn’t received any significant campaign contributions from Adelson in the last years, therefore an obvious connection between the two potential ban bills is missing.

Different opinions

The Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, Adelson’s anti-online gambling formation, expressed its complete approval of Graham and Chaffetz ban initiatives.

The official comment was: “We support and applaud all efforts to restore the long-standing interpretation that the Wire Act prohibits Internet gambling. It’s common sense that putting a virtual casino in the pocket of every American with a phone is bad public policy.”

There were also disapproving opinions coming from the Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection, which considers the potential ban as a backward step that would put consumers at risk and violate their rights.

Mary Bono, the coalition’s spokeswoman and former Rep., commented: “Banning all online gaming nationwide, as this bill effectively does, would put American consumers at serious risk. It is impossible to stand in the way of the Internet; instead, we should embrace and shape these new technologies in a way that is safe for consumers.”

Chaffetz’s intentions

As far as Chaffetz is concerned, he wants to reinstate the Wire Act, but with a stress on the ban of internet gambling in general, and not only online sportsbooks in the US.

Chaffetz spokesperson explained: “For 50 years the Wire Act was interpreted one way, and then two days before Christmas 2011, the DOJ decides to change that interpretation. The (Chaffetz) bill would restore the original interpretation of the Wire Act pre-December 2011, the one that was issued by the DOJ.”

She further said that there were very different and strong opinions regarding internet gambling: “If we’re going to allow Internet gambling in this country, it needs to go through Congress.”

The moment of the introduction of both bills doesn’t seem random, as next week the Congress is starting to operate again.

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