NASPL Latest to Speak Out against Anti-Online Gambling Lesiglation
The North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries spoke out today against the anti-online gambling bill known as the Restoration of the Wire Act. The legislation was introduced to both houses of the U.S. Congress a couple of weeks ago.
In the U.S. Senate, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham introduced the bill, saying legalized gambling in New Jersey allows people in South Carolina to circumvent his state’s laws against gaming machines. Jason Chaffetz of Utah introduced the bill to the U.S. House of Representatives. Both congressmen have bipartisan support for their bills.
David Gale Sends Letter to Senator Graham
David Gale, the Executive Director of the NASPL, wrote an open letter to Senator Lindsey Graham, largely seen as the top proponent of the proposed new law. In the leader, Gale said, “This is, and has always been, a state’s right to make these decisions as they relate to gaming within its respective boarders. Since lottery products are sold in a competing market, it is important that we continue to design and offer secure games that people want to play so that lottery states can continue to fund the much-needed programs and/or services for which lottery revenues are earmarked.”
Both sides of the debate claim to be protecting state’s rights, which is a common tactic when federal-state issues arise. When he introduced the bill, Lindsey Graham stated that a law passed by South Carolina in the late 1990’s made it illegal to wager on slot machines and video poker machines in his state. He then went on to suggest that the regulation of online casinos in Delaware and New Jersey rendered those South Carolina’s useless, because South Carolina residents could play an online slot machine or video poker machine with any cellphone.
Geolocator Technology Undermines Graham’s Argument
This overlooks the use of geolocator technology on gaming devices, which assures a gambler has to be inside a state to access licensed websites in those states. For instance, a person with a smartphone in South Carolina would not be able to gamble at online casinos licensed by Delaware or New Jersey, because software would tell those sites that the potential player is not in their jurisdiction.
Cookies have allowed gaming websites to decline signups from gamblers in banned jurisdictions for years. If a person living in the United States tries to register (or log into) a website like Bovada, Pokerstars, or 888casino, those sites will give a message which states a player may not play on their websites. People in South Carolina (or elsewhere outside New Jersey) can see this in action by going to 888casino. At the bottom of the homepage, they will see “You may deposit from anywhere inside the US, but you can only play for real money inside New Jersey.”
With such technology in use, South Carolina’s legislature is not in danger of having its law undermined or usurped by New Jersey gaming laws. In fact, if the Restoration of the Wire Act were signed into law, then South Carolina’s anti-gambling laws would be imposed on New Jersey. This is why David Gale wrote a letter to Lindsey Graham, pointing out these concerns and citing state’s rights.
The Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection
Those who want to see the full content of David Gale’s letter can go to the website for the Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection. The organization was created to counter the efforts of Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, which is pushing for a comprehensive ban on online gambling in the United States. Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling is funded by Sheldon Adelson, who has stated he will spend whatever money is necessary to see online gambling made illegal throughout the USA.
It might be expected to see those inside the gambling industry to take strong stances on gaming laws. The NASPL may not have a direct interest involving online casino gaming and online poker, but it does have an interest in how the federal government governs gaming laws in general. David Gale understands that, if the U.S. government decides to ban all iGaming, such a policy could be turned on the interstate lotteries under the right circumstances. Thus the NASPL’s interest is in limiting the power and ambitions of the central government.
The National Conference of State Legislatures
Organizations outside of the gambling industry are just as concerned. The National Confererence of State Legislatures is sending letters to congressional lawmakers, lobbying them to vote against Restoration of the Wire Act.
The NCSL represents the 50 state legislatures, so state-level lawmakers are concerned about a possible usurpation of their rights to govern their own peoples. If Restoration of the Wire Act were enacted, then 50 state governments would lose their ability to write gaming laws for the people in their state. With so many gaming interests at stake in those jurisdictions, losing a vote on such terms could cost states billions of dollars in revenues.
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