WASHINGTON (KSNV MyNews3.com) — Legislation to restore a pre-2011 ban on Internet gambling was introduced today in Congress.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, introduced the Restoration of America's Wire Act, which restores a long-standing interpretation of the Wire Act and reverses the Department of Justice's December 2011 decision to allow online gaming.
"In 1999, South Carolina outlawed video poker and removed over 33,000 video poker machines from within its borders,” Graham said in a news release. “Now, because of the Obama administration's decision, virtually any cell phone or computer can again become a video poker machine. It's simply not right."
Chaffetz, co-sponsor of the bill, said in the same release: “These fundamental changes need to go through Congress. By restoring the original interpretation of the Wire Act, we are putting the genie back in the bottle and allowing for an open debate to take place."
In February, attorneys general for 16 states asked Congress to restore the decades-long interpretation of the Wire Act to allow Congress and states to more fully consider the public policy ramifications of the Justice Department’s reinterpretation of the Wire Act.
The 1961 Interstate Wire Act prohibited the operation of most online betting businesses. But the law was reinterpreted by the Department of Justice in December 2011 to outlaw only sports gambling. Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey have legalized forms of online gambling. Other states are considering similar action.
Sens. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Dean Heller, R-Nev., are discussing a possible bill to restore Wire Act prohibitions against most forms of online gambling, but legalize online poker, which Nevada law allows.