The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) believes that individual states should have the freedom to choose whether or not to allow online gambling and have passed a resolution that opposes any such ban on the federal level.
At a recent annual summit in Minneapolis, the NCSL discussed dozens of legislative topics including one that focused on the online gambling battle. That battle has found casino mogul Sheldon Adelson front and center as he pushes the agenda of the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG), an organization that he founded late last year.
Adelson is pulling the strings behind federal legislation proposed five months ago by South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz. The measures introduced by Graham/Chaffetz seek to overturn a 2011 DoJ ruling that found online gambling to be permissible on the state level under the 1961 Wire Act, with the exception of sports betting.
Abboud called on again on behalf of Adelson
While the NCSL debated the resolution, Andy Abboud, Las Vegas Sands VP on Goverment Relations & Community Development, again served as Adelson’s minion to state the case for the anti-online gambling crowd. Abboud, many will recall, has made several such appearances in the past that included testimony before a Senate subcommittee in 2013.
Since the resolution of the NCSL passed, it is apparent that Abboud once again came out on the losing end. The scorecards of most who have been following the debate over online poker and gambling regulation have shown that Abboud has not been very effective as Adelson’s designated hitter, even once being called a hypocrite by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois).
Resolution all about the sovereignty of states
The approved resolution makes a request of Congress that the NCSL be involved “in any federal efforts that seek to reform the regulation of online gaming.” Furthermore, the resolution states that the NCSL “strongly opposes any effort by the federal government to overturn” the 2011 DoJ ruling, which the Graham/Chaffetz proposal, entitled the ‘Restoration of America’s Wire Act,’ aims to do.
There are quite a few states that seemingly have no intention of getting into the Internet gambling game. That is entirely fine with the NCSL, who “also requests that federal lawmakers be respectful of state legislatures that prohibit online gaming or other forms of gaming within their state.” It’s all about each state having the right to choose their own path, as the DoJ’s 2011 interpretation and clarification of the Wire Act allows.
Online gambling battle rages on
The war between pro and con forces in the online gambling battle appears likely to be fought for some time. Some states, Pennsylvania and California in particular, made considerable strides this year toward joining the regulated states of New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada. The future bodes well for one or both of those states to take the igaming regulation plunge in 2015.
The NCSL is a good ally to have in the ongoing battle against the deep pockets of Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson. His attempts at banning online poker and gambling in the U.S. have been a thorn in the side of pro-Internet gambling forces. But those attempts have not been successful and the odds look good that such success will elude the 81-year-old billionaire.