At a hearing, before he became Donald Trump's Attorney General, Jeff Sessions was asked about the DOJ Office of Legal Counsel‘s 2011 view that restricted the scope of the 1961 Wire Act to sports betting.
His answer to the question caused a chaos throughout gambling fraternity.
“I’m shocked, shocked to find gambling is going on in here!”
The 2011 OLC’s views paved the way for various states to make online casino, poker, and lottery legal within their boundaries, which is very much aligned with Donald Trump's own view on discreasing regulations and increasing opportunities for businesses.
Sessions also said he was “shocked” by the DOJ memorandum. He told Graham that he would reconsider this “unusual” opinion. Sessions just didn’t say that he would reverse it, although it was the general sentiment expected by everyone.
“I did oppose [the 2011 DOJ opinion] when it happened, and it seemed to me to be unusual,” Sessions said during the hearing. “I would revisit it or make a decision about it based on careful study. I haven’t gone that far to give you an opinion today.”
Graham’s standard line of questioning
Being a vigorous supporter of online gambling ban in 2014, Graham made the 2011 DOJ OLC opinion an emphasis of his questioning.
During the confirmation hearing of the current Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Graham showered with similar questions. He went far as to submit written questions for her to answer on the matter.
Lynch’s top line was: “Unless in the course of my review I conclude that OLC’s interpretation of the Wire Act is unreasonable, I do not intend to take any action to suspend or revoke the opinion.”
Sessions views on the matter should cause be alarming for the supporters of online gaming. It is very important to think of his statement in the broader perspective of online gambling in the US.
Nevada has a legal online poker, and Delaware and New Jersey also offer legal casino and online poker games.
Aside from this Michigan, Kentucky, Georgia, and Illinois sell lottery tickets online, and California, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania have aggressively explored online casino/poker/lottery bills.
Also, fantasy sports are legal in the below listed nine states:
- New York
If Sessions decides to reconsider the 2011 OLC opinion, a lot of exemptions would be required to be made, else a number of the states mentioned above would have to cease their legal online gambling operations.
The courts have come down on the side of the current interpretation of the Wire Act only in two cases (In re Mastercard International Inc., 2002, United States Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit; U.S. v. Lyons, 2014, United States Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit).
But a more challenging fight will be if the government can hold off on the implementation of Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA). If you you enjoy playing casino gaming online in New Jersey or any other State, then to be clear, you should OPPOSE the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA)