Billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson is ramping up his anti-online gambling efforts by drafting a federal bill whose purpose is to overturn the 2011 DoJ decision that found the 1961 Wire Act to be applicable only to sports betting.
Adelson and his Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling have created a bill that would amend the Wire Act so that online gaming would be prohibited. The three-page Internet Gambling Control Act is still a work in progress that would require quite a few revisions before being introduced before federal lawmakers.
A copy of the draft was made public by Marco Valerio at agentmarco.com. The proposal takes aim at online poker by specifying that games “predominantly determined by the skill of the players” in addition to “games in part or predominantly subject to chance” would be verboten.
The Las Vegas Sands CEO has in mind that federal legislators should “restore long-standing United States policy that the Wire Act prohibits Internet gambling to give Congress and the public time to fully examine the issues surrounding Internet gambling, including the potential for money laundering, fraud, terrorism financing, cyber-crimes and participation by minors,” states the draft proposal.
The 52-year-old Wire Act was enacted decades before the Internet came to be and was intended to outlaw wagers made via telephone. The DoJ’s 2011 clarification allowed states to offer online poker and gambling, which New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada have done.
Several more states may follow this year in a possible domino effect that could spread Internet gambling rather quickly in comparison to the pace seen up to this point. That is what Adelson is trying to prevent. The 80-year-old has gone on record as saying that money is no object when it comes to protecting society from the dangers of online gambling.
With a fortune that climbed 68% last year to reach $37 billion, Adelson has pockets deep enough to take a stab at thwarting online gambling legislation. A heavy donor to GOP causes, it is quite likely that Adelson’s proposal will get a serious look from his cronies within the Republican party.