US Control of Online Gambling to Remain with States


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To say that the landscape of the US online gambling industry is complex would be a gross understatement. Basically, the continental US has 50 states that each come together to give the entire nation its power. And as detailed by the Tenth Amendment, each state has the right to determine its own legislation to cover a multitude of topics.

Of late, the Tenth Amendment is back in the headlines because it has been cited as the reason why four US political groups so resolutely opposed the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA). After being presented on Wednesday 4 February, RAWA was quickly rejected by all who voted on it.

Pivotal to ensuring failure of RAWA were the Campaign for Liberty, Competitive Enterprise Institute, American Conservative Union, and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance. All four of the political groups agreed that RAWA would compromise the Tenth Amendment by removing state control over online gambling and handing it over to federal decision makers.

Objection to Influence of Sheldon Adelson

Had RAWA succeeded, there would have been a major outcry among many, as Republican representative Jason Chaffertz had proposed the bill. Now, the reason why Chaffertz is so controversial is because he is said to have worked extensively with US gambling magnate Sheldon Adelson to craft the bill.

The aforementioned political groups and various onlookers complained vigorously at the influence that a businessman like Adelson could exert in the corridors of power in Washington DC. In addition to overstepping his bounds as a businessman, critics felt it concerning that a man who has earned millions from gambling was trying to control gambling at the federal level.

When looking closely at the legislation, it became apparent to many that RAWA contained notable exceptions that would directly benefit the gambling enterprises of Adelson, who is particularly active in Las Vegas, owning the Sands and Venetian casinos.

Most notable of the exceptions was that online gambling involving sports, horse racing, and fantasy sports would not be subjected to RAWA. This is crucial because of Adelson’s decades of experience operating Las Vegas sportsbooks.

Future of US Online Gambling

Online gambling is currently legal in the states of New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware. Had RAWA succeeded, those states would have had to cede to federal legislation and cease their online gambling operations relating to digital gaming. However, all three states are free to proceed.

Because US states are clearly able to control their own gambling legislation, there is a chance that the industry could expand in the coming years. Of course, progress will be slow as states like Washington and Indiana are no closer to passing legislation to govern online gambling. Therefore, patience will be needed from operators who are eager to enter the industry in the future.

In closing, it is worth mentioning that Rep. Chaffertz said he opposed online gambling because it would put “an app on every phone that allows people to gamble wherever they are.” Surprisingly, he felt that sports betting should be exempt from his philosophy.


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