The United States has always been a tough nut to crack for the online gambling industry. While iGaming is permitted in the United Kingdom, Australia, and many parts of Europe, it is banned by federal law in the US. The exceptions to this law are the states of Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware where it is allowed albeit in a limited form.
Online gambling operators see a faint ray of light thanks to the efforts of many states to ease the restrictions on online gambling by passing amendments to existing laws or bringing new laws into effect. However, it seems that Congress is seeking to take steps to override these laws, in what seems to be a major contravention of the tenets of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. What makes this particularly galling is that Congress seems to be moving in this anti-iGaming direction at the command of an important GOP donor.
The online gambling industry is up in arms on account of a Senate Appropriations Report that has recently been amended by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) to bring an end to all forms of online gambling taking place in the country. The newly introduced language in the bill will permit the federal government to override the laws passed by individual states to make internet based gambling legal so that it can be regulated properly.
It is interesting to note that the bill in question has been supported by many Republican members of Congress. However, the Las Vegas casino big wig Sheldon Adelson is believed to be the inspiration for this amendment. The billionaire casino owner, who is known to be a major donor to the Republican Party, has been campaigning for many years to prevent online gambling from being legalized.
It is easy to understand why Adelson is eager to ban internet based gambling. After all, his company runs casinos in Las Vegas, Macau and even Singapore. What is surprising is why Congress wants to get into this fight. After all, states that offer online gambling stand to earn a lot of tax revenues from this business and they will also ensure that their residents will not fall prey to illegally run gambling sites.
Most Americans might not have access to legally run internet gambling operations, but this does not prevent them from going online to bet on sports or play casino or slot games. In fact, Americans enjoy playing all the latest games such as Tiki Island slots. The problem is that they have to visit illegally run sites, some of which have criminal connections, and many of them lose money this way.
Congress does have a history of sneaking anti-gambling language into completely unrelated bills. This is actually a major issue since it deprives American gamblers from protection against badly run black market operations. Examples from other countries show that the industry works very well when it is properly regulated. There is also the major issue of whether Congress has the right to tell adult Americans how they should spend their money!Read More