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Do You Support Making All Online Gambling Illegal?

Should all online gambling be illegal?

by Countable | Updated on 1.17.19

What’s the story?

  • The U.S. Justice Department has decided to expand the federal prohibition on internet gambling to include all online gambling, not only sports betting.
  • This reverses the DOJ’s 2011 position that the U.S. Wire Act of 1961 only barred online sports betting.

What does the 1961 Wire Act actually say?

  • The federal law specifically prohibits transmission of wagers and related information across state lines.
  • The Wire Act, § 1084(a), seemingly makes it clear that its intended targets are “sporting events or contests”:
Whoever being engaged in the business of betting or wagering knowingly uses a wire communication facility for the transmission in interstate or foreign commerce of bets or wagers or information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest, or for the transmission of a wire communication which entitles the recipient to receive money or credit as a result of bets or wagers, or for information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

Who will be impacted?

  • Lotteries. (New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Kentucky, Illinois, and Michigan have online lottery operations.)
  • Online casinos (Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware have internet casino markets.)
  • Online sports betting.
  • Fantasy sports.

What are both sides saying?

  • The restriction had been long-sought by GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson, who controls one of the world's largest casino empires. Former Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), speaking on behalf of the Adelson-backed "Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling," praised the decision:
"Today's decision seamlessly aligns with the department's long-standing position that federal law prohibits all forms of internet gambling, as well as with Congress' intent when it gave law enforcement additional tools to shut down the activity through the overwhelmingly passed Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in 2006," she said.
  • “Legally, the decision was not ambiguous,” said Las Vegas attorney Kate Lowenhar-Fisher of Dickinson Wright. “It was a tortured effort to interpret the Wire Act to include all forms of betting. It was an absurd grammatical exercise.”
  • Nevada Congresswoman Dina Titus (D) agreed, saying the ruling appears to be politically motivated.
“Though the full impact of this reckless DOJ reversal remains to be seen, we can be certain that it will inject uncertainty into a well-regulated market and push consumers back into the black market,” Titus said. “Unfortunately, the Trump Administration only supports states’ rights when it is politically convenient.”

What do you think?

Do you support making all online gambling illegal? Some? Is it time for Congress to revisit the Wire Act? Take action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below. 

—Josh Herman

(Photo Credit: Jim Makos via Flickr)

Countable

Written by Countable

Leave a comment
(105)
  • TuckerWantsLiberty
    01/17/2019
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    Stop outlawing things. No victim, no crime. These are voluntary transactions. Are they risky? Sure, but if we outlaw risk then we'd have to outlaw all forms of investment and credit. Are they stupid? Possibly, but if we outlaw stupidity we'd have to outlaw the entire government.

    Like (34)
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  • RAN
    Voted No
    01/17/2019
    ···

    No, people should be free to do with their property and earnings what they want.

    Like (16)
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  • Robin
    Voted Yes
    01/18/2019
    ···

    Online accessible gambling on a 24/7 basis is a very slippery slope. It does not take a lot for someone to become addicted and fall into the dangerous category of being a compulsive gambler. When it is readily available at all times, untold losses of money and damage to family will result. There is enough damaging addictions that individuals and families have to deal with in our society. Gambling should be left in the confines of a brick and mortar casino not available to the vulnerable. And it does not take much to become one of the vulnerable.

    Like (7)
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  • BlueSphere
    Voted No
    01/18/2019
    ···

    No, adults don’t need to be babysat. By the way, none of the posts of some of the people I follow are showing under their profile. What’s up with that?

    Like (12)
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  • Thomas
    01/17/2019
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    No, I should be able to do what I want with my money!!

    Like (11)
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  • doingmypart
    Voted Yes
    01/18/2019
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    Either regulate online gambling for fraud or make it illegal, making sure games aren’t rigged which is the real issue.

    Like (5)
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  • burrkitty
    Voted No
    01/18/2019
    ···

    How? No, seriously, how the hell do they think they can enforce this? They can’t. It’s totally impossible. Do they even understand the TECHNOLOGY they are going on about? This is a seriously stupid paper tiger. They will just move server operations out of the USA. Lo, USA laws no longer apply. Dumb dumb dumb.

    Like (6)
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  • Isaac
    01/17/2019
    ···

    No I do not support making online gambling illegal. If people want to risk their own money or assets they should be be free to. Making this illegal will just create a black market where people have inelastic demand for gambling products/services. People should be responsible and make their own prudent financial decisions. I urge you to vote against this initiative.

    Like (5)
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  • David
    01/17/2019
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    No, I don't support making all online gambling illegal. There is no way to stop online gambling sites and the US Government doesn't need to play big brother.

    Like (4)
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  • Steven
    01/17/2019
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    Too late, the cat has been let out of the bag. Online gambling is fine. If you ban online gambling, then all gambling should be banned. Seems like another law designed to protect only certain individuals.

    Like (4)
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  • Dave
    Voted No
    01/18/2019
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    People I know have lost there homes, there needs to be checks and balances as is! It is a drug Addiction!

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  • ConservativeGuy
    01/19/2019
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    Stupid people will always find a way to lose all of their money.

    Like (4)
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  • Thomas
    01/17/2019
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    This has every appearance of favoring one class of gaming purveyors at the expense of another. That the favored class is closely aligned with the president raises this from anti-competitive to bordering on corrupt.

    Like (4)
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  • RAN
    Voted No
    01/18/2019
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    It’s not the governments business what people do with their money.

    Like (4)
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  • eliyak
    Voted No
    01/18/2019
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    All online gambling should be *legal.*

    Like (3)
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  • Jim2423
    01/17/2019
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    You will not save the world by banning something. Gamblers will find a way to gamble no matter what you do. It is their money 💰they earned it. I just feel for their families if the gamblers are irresponsible.

    Like (3)
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  • Deirdre
    Voted No
    01/18/2019
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    Stay out of the internet

    Like (3)
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  • Chris
    01/18/2019
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    NO! Leave gambling alone. The. An didn't work LAST TIME, they say it's for "the good of the people" BULLSHIT, its because it hurts the bottom line on all the STATE OWNED casinos. Whenever you hear "for the good of the people" you can be sure of one thing, someone in power stands to lose a LOT of money and they must stop it. Funny how fast ALL legislation can pass when it limits our freedoms, and puts money in the state or federal pocket! If it's merely to protect us, or put some of OUR money into our OWN pocket, it take forever to pass...

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  • FishermanEd
    01/18/2019
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    Get our government out of our lives! Stop legislating how people live their lives. Let people be responsible for their own behavior.

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  • Ramona
    Voted No
    01/19/2019
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    Get the f to work and stop the bs.

    Like (2)
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