The Appropriations Bill was the target of an add-on by Senator Lindsey Graham, who has attempted to slip in an online gambling ban.
An online gambling ban was attempted by Senator Lindsey Graham after adding language to the Appropriations Bill currently making the rounds in Congress. Text
One of the most interesting statistics that we have about our federal government in the United States is the fact that Congress consistently gets an ultra-low approval rate. One of the reasons that this approval rate is so low is that there’s a feeling that many senators and representatives are
bought and paid for by big business and other influence groups. Senator Lindsey Graham showed just how
bought and paid for he is by anti-online gambling advocate Sheldon Adelson with his recent actions regarding the big Appropriations Bill.
What Did Graham Do This Time?
The following is from the language that was added to the Appropriations Bill:
Internet Gambling — Since 1961, the Wire Act has prohibited nearly all forms of gambling over interstate wires, including the Internet. However, beginning in 2011, certain states began to permit Internet Gambling. The Committee notes that the Wire Act did not change in 2011. The Committee also notes that the Supreme Court of the United States has stated that ‘criminal laws are for courts, not for the Government, to construe.
What we can see here is a clear appeal to the same approach that the Restoration of America’s Wire Act would have used in changing the Wire Act to apply to all forms of online gambling. It’s been understood for a very long time that the Wire Act never applied to anything other than sports gambling, and there has never been a court case that said otherwise. In fact, in 2011, the Department of Justice made a release clarifying that this particular law only covered sports betting.
There’s no doubt that Senator Lindsey Graham is on the Sheldon Adelson payroll in one way or another. He got a lot of support from the casino magnate during his failed presidential bid this year, and he’s received support from him in the past as well. This move with the Appropriations Bill is just another instance of the Senator being a puppet for Adelson, and that’s the type of behavior that does no sit well with the American people.
Why This Measure Won’t Matter
The fact of the matter is that Graham’s attempts are completely and totally in vain, and players really have nothing to worry about at this point. There are so many steps ahead for the bill where this RAWA-like provision can be removed that it was a futile gesture. Even knowing that, it’s interesting to see that he did it anyway, and one can only guess what the up-side was for him in doing so.
This bill is headed straight to the House Appropriations Committee, and the head of that committee is Representative John Culberson of Texas. He can easily have this language removed before it’s sent on to the Conference Committee and the White House to be signed by the president, so it’s very much a non-issue at this point.
States’ Rights Issues
What’s interesting is how this approach takes on states’ rights issues. New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada all have some form of regulated online gambling running at this very moment, and for Lindsey to try to put a stop to that seems an awful lot like violating states’ rights to a lot of people. What we have to learn from this is that Adelson isn’t going to stop any time soon, and we’re going to have to continue to be very careful to make sure no half-hearted measure like this slips by us and ends up being signed into law.