On Monday, US Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Linsey Graham (R-SC) submitted a letter to United States Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to support S-2159, the federal bill intended to strengthen the Wire Act.
The Poker Players Alliance published a copy of the letter online and it opened claiming that the December 2011 DOJ decision reversed “50 years of interpretation of the Wire Act,” claiming that it only applied to sports betting. They then claimed that decision left on its own could usher in “the most fundamental change in gambling in our lifetimes by turning every smart phone, tablet, and personal computer in our country into a casino available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”
The Senators also point to FBI claims that online gambling and poker could open the door to potential money laundering and other criminal activity. They also pointed to the potential dangers to children and society’s most vulnerable.
The letter then went on to solicit the support of Holder and his office despite the fact that it was the DOJ’s Wire Act memo that opened the door to the legal US online poker market.
They closed the letter claiming that action is needed before “we find virtual casinos making gambling pervasive in our society, invading living rooms, bedrooms, and dorm rooms across the country; a result we know the DOJ does not want to see.”
One interesting tidbit that came from the letter is a statement that they expect the Senate to act on S-2159 by the end of the year. If this is true, it would be a huge move considering that bills regarding any form of online gambling have failed to gain any traction in recent years.
The Restoration of America’s Wire Act would effectively make most forms of online gambling and online poker illegal in the United States. A further consequence of the bill is that it would also undo the legalized markets currently in place in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware.
It would seem unlikely that Holder would come out in support of this bill, as doing so would seemingly undermine the DOJ’s memo from 2011. However, one has to give credit to the Senators for covering all potential avenues in garnering support for the bill.