US Congressman Not Happy with Delaware, Nevada Interstate Gaming Pact
With both states seeking more revenue from their online poker operations, Delaware and Nevada signed a pact last month to share player pools. This was a tremendously significant development with regard to US online gaming because it’s the first time that two states have partnered up.
Of course, with US internet gaming still in its infancy, we can likely expect many more partnerships like this in the future…that is unless US Congress fights the matter.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) wants to introduce legislation that would override the US Department of Justice’s 2011 interpretation of the Wire Act, thus making internet gaming illegal. The US DOJ famously stated that they believe the Wire Act only makes sports betting across state lines illegal and not online poker and casino games.
Chaffetz, who plans on unveiling his bill when Congress returns to Washington, doesn’t think that there should be any exceptions made for online poker and casino games. M.J. Henshaw, a spokeswoman for Chaffetz, stated the Congressman’s opinion with the following:
For 50 years the Wire Act was interpreted one way, and then two days before Christmas, the DOJ decides to change that interpretation. The bill would restore the original interpretation of the Wire Act pre-December 2011, the one that was issued by the DOJ.
On the surface, it’s unclear what Chaffetz’s sudden motivation is behind banning interstate online poker. However, the DailyCaller uncovered an interesting connection between Chaffetz and Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas Sands Chairman who’s made it his mission to stop the spread of online gaming. Darryl Nirenberg, who’s a lobbyist for Adelson, wrote parts of the Utah Congressman’s upcoming bill.
Many see Adelson’s anti-online gaming campaign as a self-serving crusade meant to protect his world-leading casino empire. Popular opinion is that Adelson purports hypocritical arguments on how internet casino games will lead to widespread addiction, despite that fact that he owns some of the world’s biggest land-based casinos. And with his deep pockets, it’s very possible that he can influence Congressmen like Jason Chaffetz.