Last update11:46:33 PM GMT

  • XML Parsing Error at 1:1187. Error 23: EntityRef: expecting ';'
Back Poker World Live Poker Senator Lindsey Graham to Introduce Anti-Online Gaming Bill

Senator Lindsey Graham to Introduce Anti-Online Gaming Bill

  • PDF

Senator Lindsey Graham online billAccording to a published report from Gambling Compliance, the senior Senator from the state of South Carolina, powerful Republican Lindsey Graham, will be introducing legislation that looks to put a federal ban on internet gaming and poker.

The report from Gambling Compliance, passed along to the Poker Players Alliancemembership through Vice President of Player Relations Rich Muny, states that this legislation will “soon” be introduced. It would look to rewrite the Wire Act of 1961 to include a ban on gaming over the internet alongside prohibitions that are already in place. If that bill was to pass through the Democratic-controlled Senate, it would then be sent to the House of Representatives, which would seemingly have a fairly easy time in passing a bill suggested by a member of the GOP establishment.

In the Gambling Compliance interview, Graham remarked that he was firmly against any form of online betting (whether he was including such things as fantasy sports leagues in with online casino gaming and poker is unknown). He also adamantly stated his opposition to exempting online poker from any ban, saying that he would oppose efforts from other Senators in proposing a poker-only federal regulation that would still ban all other online gaming options. This is a critical point as two members of the Senate, the Nevada team of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and junior Senator Dean Heller, are supposedly on course to push for a poker-only regulatory system.

Just last week, Heller discussed not only the drive by he and Reid but that there was a possibility of a federal ban on other internet gaming. Stating “games like poker, I think, take a little more skill” in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Heller said that the legislation that the two Nevada senators were pushing for was strictly for online poker, but that they were looking for other Senators to join forces with them so it didn’t look like Nevada was driving the online gaming issue. Whether he was “in the loop” as to Graham’s push for a total ban is unknown at this point.

It is unclear at this point what success the Graham option would have for passage through the U. S. Senate. With a 55-45 majority, the Democrats control that body of Congress, but there are potentially some defectors from Democrats in conservative districts that might side with Graham’s crusade. There are also some Senators that, no matter how liberal, would side with Graham because they view gambling as a whole a burden on those who cannot afford to gamble.

It seems that it has been a “one step forward, two steps back” for online gaming and poker in the United States since the beginning of 2014. Although Nevada andDelaware announced a historic online gaming compact that will pool their players, legislation is slow-moving in other states or even going backward. In Pennsylvania, for example, a State legislator proposed criminalizing online poker and casino gaming (after a flurry of Facebook comments driven by members of the PPA, the representative stated he would hold off on his legislation until the state completed a full study on gaming issues). In California, though, two bills have been introduced that would bring the largest state in the U. S. into the online poker industry in the country.

The battle over internet gaming and poker has been slowly reaching a full boil since Las Vegas Sands Corporation Chief Executive Officer Sheldon Adelson stepped into the fray. Vowing to thwart passage of any law, federal or state, that would allow for online gaming and poker, Adelson’s money has been flowing in his pursuit of that endeavor (he was a major contributor to Heller’s re-election campaign in 2012, where he was rumored to have spent $7 million to get Heller back in his Senate seat). The anti-gaming lobbying group he has founded, the Coalition to Stop Internet Gaming, has been able to draw significant support from mainstream outlets (most notably USA Today), but his minions that have testified at government hearings have been ineffective at best.

It is unknown at this point when – or if – Graham will act on his threat of introducing the legislation. Poker News Daily will continue to monitor the ongoing battle.