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Poker News | Gambling and the Law

Federal online poker ban opposed by American lotteries

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Sheldon Adelson has been on a massive campaign to ban online poker through the federal government and bring back the Wire Act to stop online gaming. Many organizations and poker players in the United States are fighting to legalize, regulate, and license online gambling and one such organization is the North American Association of State & Provincial Lotteries (NASPL) who issued a letter to Sen. Lindsey Graham contesting Adelson's proposed federal ban on online poker.

“Our Association believes, and is on record, that all gaming should be left up to the individual states to determine the games that are offered, as well as the manner in which they are being delivered to their customers,” writes NASPL Executive Director David Gale. “This is, and has always been, a state’s right to make these decisions as they relate to gaming within its respective boarders. Since lottery products are sold in a competing market, it is important that we continue to design and offer secure games that people want to play so that lottery states can continue to fund the much-needed programs and/or services for which lottery revenues are earmarked.”

Rep. Jason Chaffetz and Graham introduced the Restoration of America’s Wire Act to the Senate and House of Representatives respectively. The purpose of the bills are to take the choice of legalizing online gambling away from each individual state and force the focus of the issue to center in Congress.

Chaffetz claimed in a press conference that the Department of Justice reinterpreted the Wire Act in Dec. 2011 “without significant public input.”

“These fundamental changes need to go through Congress,” Chaffetz went on to add.

Big multi-state lotteries like Mega Millions and Powerball would be in jeopardy if the Wire Act was restored and all online wagering was considered illegal. Distribution for state-based lotteries would also be in trouble without online distribution.

“It is our intent, and indeed our obligation, to protect our traditional games and to position our industry for growth,” Gale writes.

With 52 lotteries in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, NASPL broke records last year with $83.3 billion in sales, and over $23 billion in transfers to various government-funded projects. NASPLis going to defend the Tenth Amendment – state’s rights – and is in concert with the Coalition for Consumer & Online Protection to stop Adelson’s push for a congressional ban on online gaming.

Image courtesy of SXC

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