NCSL publishes letter opposing new anti-online gaming legislation in US

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has published a letter strongly opposing new anti-online gambling legislation that has been introduced in the US.

As reported by iGaming Business, Senators Lindsey Graham and Jason Chaffetz are sponsoring new legislation to restore America’s Wire Act in order to outlaw all forms on online gaming in the US, with the exception of fantasy games and horseracing.

The legislation would reverse a decision in 2011 by Attorney General Eric Holder that a 1961 law used to ban online gaming only applied to sports betting. The new bills would expand prohibition to where it originally stood before the 2011 ruling.

The NCSL letter is addressed to Senator Harry Reid, majority leader of the Democratic party in the Senate, and Senator Mitch McConnell, minority leader of the Republican party in the Senate. John Boehner, speaker of the House of Representatives, and Nancy Pelosi, Democratic minority leader in the House, are also addressed in the letter.

Senator Bruce Starr, president of the NCSL, and Senator Debbie Smith, NCSL president-elect, penned the letter on behalf of the NCSL.

“On behalf of the NCSL we write to express our strong opposition to the Restoration of America’s Wire Act, and urge you to respect the sovereignty of states to decide whether or not to allow gambling, and in particular online gambling,” the letter said.

“Since its inception, NCSL has resisted unwarranted preemptions of state laws and federal legislation that threatens state authority and autonomy – especially in areas of successfully demonstrated state stewardship like gambling.

“States have proven that they are effective regulators of the gambling industry and the proponents of this legislation fail to make a case that we have been negligent in our responsibilities to the industry and consumers.

“This attempt to enact a wholesale prohibition of online gambling with the Restoration of America’s Wire Act is merely a solution seeking a problem.

“Since the 2011 Department of Justice opinion clarifying the scope of the Wire Act, Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey and the US Virgin Islands have legalised some form of online gambling within their state, while Utah and Maine have acted to forbid such activity.

“Many more states are considering bills that would authorise, expand or restrict Internet gambling as well. This is the way it should work, each state making the decision that is best suited to the desires of its residents and not through a congressional mandate.

“We appreciate the opportunity to express the views of our colleagues across the country on this topic. We respectfully request the state legislative perspective be considered as Congress continues to examine this issue.”

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