Bipartisan Support for Crony Capitalism Over States' Rights to Legalize Online Gambling

Senator Lindsey Graham

There are times in Washington D.C. where maintaining our system of limited government is strongly challenged by wealthy special interests who have proven effective at buying politicians to obtain crony capitalists benefits at the expense of the public interest. This just such a case with Las Vegas Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson’s crusade to federally ban online gambling in all 50 states to protect the financial interests of his brick-and-mortar casinos.

In a move that could quickly and swiftly achieve Adelson’s goal, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dianna Feinstein (D-CA) has sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, on Nov. 21, asking him to overturn the DOJ 2011 interpretation of the 1961 Wire Act to effective prohibit all 50 states from legalizing online gambling within their states.

Sen. Feinstein, known for promoting draconian gun control laws in violation of the Second Amendment, is one of the more liberals members of the Senate. That is who Sen. Graham, regarding as insufficiently conservative by many Republicans activists and grassroots conservatives, chooses to work with in this latest effort to undermine limited government.

This attempt to overturn the laws of all 50 states regarding online gambling comes after Delaware, New Jersey, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, have since the 2011 DOJ ruling enacted legislation to allow state-regulated online gambling. In the meantime, Sheldon Adelson, who has donated hundreds of millions to the campaigns and Super PACs of Republicans candidates for U.S. House and Senate seats, has been on a seemingly quixotic campaign to convince Congress to pass legislation to federal ban state-regulated online gambling.

Several Washington D.C. politicians doing the crony capitalist bidding of Adelson has been working to get Congress to enact the so-called Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) to enact a federal online gambling ban. There have been several failed attempts to advance this bill in Congress over the last two years. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the chief sponsor of RAWA in the House, even held a hearing before the House Oversight Committee two years ago to build support for the bill. The hearing absolutely failed to build more supporting in Congress for the bill. It showed strong bipartisan opposition to RAWA, and by its end it was clear there was little support from the public or our representatives in Congress for federally banning state-regulated online gambling.

Supporters of RAWA claim their bill would simply restore the pre-2011 interpretation of the Wire Act of 1961. This is simply not true, because the Wire Act, enacted by Congress before the existence of the Internet and the World Wide Web, was designed to prohibit sports betting that commonly involved organized crime groups.

With each move to pass RAWA, an increasingly growing coalition of grassroots citizens groups have strongly represented public opposition to RAWA. It could not more clear that the American people stand strongly for the right of states to determine their own laws regarding online gambling without interference from Washington D.C. Congress has far more important work to do, that the people sent elected them to do, than violating the basic Tenth Amendment principles by enacting such a federal ban on Internet gambling.

Politicians like Sens. Graham and Feinstein have forgotten why there elected, and the oath of office they took to defend and uphold the Constitution of our great country. We the people elected President Donald Trump and Republican majorities in Congress to revive the economy, create jobs, reform the outdated and economically detrimental tax code, and repeal Obamacare. It is time that Sen. Graham and others quit wasting fighting state-regulated online gambling and get back to doing what they were sent to Washington D.C. to accomplish.

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