Anti-Online Gambling Clause Added To Appropriations Bill

US Online PokerSenator Lindsey Graham has included an anti-online gambling clause in an annual bill called the Appropriations Bill which was submitted last week by the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations for approval.

The senator along with Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson have been strong opponents of the online gambling industry and this was yet another attempt by Senator Graham to lay the foundation for another attempt at securing a ban.

The 141-page long spending bill, which sets aside $56.3 billion towards national security, American scientific innovation and law enforcement among other things, has a clause included which was worded specifically as Senator Graham wanted it to be.

The clause states

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”.

Pointed out first by Gambling Compliance, the clause is said to have been included at behest of Graham. While the clause has no impact on the current bill it could possibly be used by Graham to start a legislative process that could get a ban on online gaming passed without any discussions.

Graham has earlier tried to push for a nationwide ban on online gambling through the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) which sought to ban all forms of online gambling and also put a stop to Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware offering online gambling services. The bill however was not passed, with little support seen for it during hearings on it held by John Chaffetz in the Senate.

Industry observers hope that as a result of the clause being highlighted by a number of media sources, John Culberson, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee would now remove it.

The addition of the clause in the Appropriation Bill is seen as a renewed effort by Senator Graham and gambling mogul Shelden Adelson to ban online gambling in United States.

Adelson has been strongly opposed to internet gambling and has founded the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) to drive his effortsto ban internet gambling. The RAWA was one of the legislative attempts backed by CSIG.

CSIG has recently hired a lobbying firm to address the issue of online gambling in the political circles. Amaya Inc, parent company of PokerStars has also similarly hired a lobbying firm recently to fight its battle on legalizing internet gambling.