Posts Tagged ‘Graham’

Senators Graham, Feinstein Once Again Ask DOJ to Ban Online Poker

 Senators Graham, Feinstein Once Again Ask DOJ to Ban Online Poker

It has been a while since we heard from Senator Lindsey Graham (R – S.C.) about trying to ban online poker in the United States, so I suppose it was about time for him to try to revive his dead horse. Last week, Graham and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D – CA) sent a letter to U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, asking him to reverse the Wire Act clarification issued by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel in 2011, a decision which would effectively make online gambling completely illegal in the U.S.

As readers may remember, the Wire Act was designed more than 55 years ago to curtail organized crime by making sports betting over phone lines illegal. For whatever reason, decades later, the Department of Justice interpreted it to include all gambling over the internet. In late 2011, the OLC clarified that the Wire Act only applied to sports betting, thus officially opening the door for states to launch their own online gambling industries.

Sen. Graham has introduced billionaire Republican donor Sheldon Adelson’s Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) multiple times, trying to get the OLC’s ruling reversed, but it largely hasn’t been taken too seriously by lawmakers. Thus, it’s time for another approach.
As one would expect, the letter is mostly bullshit. For example, one paragraph states:

The DOJ opinion had the practical effect of repealing legislation Congress carefully and thoughtfully enacted in 2006 to ban internet gambling – legislation developed over seven years and crafted based on assurances from DOJ at that time that internet gambling was barred by the Wire Act and other federal criminal laws.

I’m not going to bother parsing every word, but suffice to say that the UIGEA – the law referred to there – was not “carefully and thoughtfully enacted.” It was, instead, attached to a must-pass SAFE Port Act and snuck through in the middle of the night with virtually no debate.

The letter goes on to use the “won’t anyone think of the children” scare tactic that we have heard a million times and again cites an old FBI letter that states, “[o]nline casinos are vulnerable to a wide array of criminal schemes” like money laundering. Of course, that letter is always misrepresented, as the concerns it addresses have to do with unregulated gambling, not legal, properly regulated online gambling.

Poker Players Alliance Executive Director John Pappas skewered the letter in a statement, saying:

If they were handing out awards for Congressional letters, this one would win “most misleading” in a landslide. Aside from the statement that Pennsylvania authorized online gaming and other states are considering it, there is nary a fact contained with the letter’s five paragraphs. Congress has given express authority to states to regulate igaming, a detail that Senators Graham and Feinstein repeatedly ignore. Moreover, they continue to misrepresent and almost decade old FBI letter that does not address the realities of regulated online gaming. I suppose it’s easier to conflate reality with their own bias to continue making the same points, than actually own up to the fact that regulated igaming is responsible public policy.

The PPA posted the entire letter, which can be read here.

The post Senators Graham, Feinstein Once Again Ask DOJ to Ban Online Poker appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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Sen. Lindsey Graham is Still Trying to Get RAWA Passed

 Sen. Lindsey Graham is Still Trying to Get RAWA Passed

Failed Republican presidential candidate, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, is best known to poker fans as Sheldon Adelson’s jock-carrier and the Senator who introduced Adelson’s Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) last year. RAWA, if it even became law, would place a ban on online gambling in the United States, wiping out the current legal, regulated internet gaming industries in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware. So far, RAWA and its champions have failed miserably, but Graham is still at it, this time inserting some RAWA-like language into the Senate Appropriations Bill.

The gigantic 100-plus page bill, officially titled, “Departments of Commerce and Justice, Science, And Related Agencies Appropriations Bill,” authorizes billions of dollars in government spending. It is something that almost nobody that wants to remain sane would ever read in its entirety, which is what makes it so potentially useful for Graham.

There is one small paragraph in the bill which, according to Gambling Compliance, was added “at the request of Senator Graham.” It reads:

Internet Gambling- Since 1961, the Wire Act has prohibited nearly all forms of gambling over interstate wires, including the Internet. However, beginning in 2011, certain States began to permit Internet gambling. The Committee notes that the Wire Act did not change in 2011. The Committee also notes that the Supreme Court of the United States has stated that `criminal laws are for courts, not for the Government, to construe.’ Abramski v. U.S., 134 S.Ct. 2259, 2274 (2014) (internal citation omitted).

As you can see, it is really just a statement of incorrect opinion. It does nothing to change the law. But there was a reason Graham had that added. Essentially, it would lay the groundwork for a future online gambling ban.

The way it would work, according to dailysurge.com* is that the language would also get inserted into House’s version of the Appropriations Bill. The site continues:

What they plan to do is to get these two bills passed with an accompanying report calling for the law to be changed to ban all gaming and gambling.  Then they will add the language into a conference report after the bills pass the House and the Senate.  This is called an “air drop,” because the House and Senate will never get to vote on this provision as an amendment.

The legislative language will be buried in a giant conference report that will be presented to the House and Senate as a take-it-or-leave it proposition.  Insiders use this trick when they want to get something passed that does not have majority support.  They attach an unpopular special interest earmark to an appropriations bill in a way that makes it impossible for opponents to strip it out.

Now that many sites are reporting on this, the hope is that Graham’s addition is no longer invisible. It is entirely possible that Rep. John Culberson, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, will remove it and we can all go on laughing at Graham and Adelson. But while we have seen both parties soundly reject RAWA and the crony capitalism it represents, this continued shady politics (which is all too common) should still make people at least a little nervous.

*While it sounds like the dailysurge knows what it is talking about, always take information from an extreme-right wing site (or extreme left) like that with a grain of salt. Put it this way: articles on that site right now include “BRAVE BEAUTY: First Muslim Miss USA Converts To Christianity,” “Mizzou Pays The Price For Supporting #BlackLivesMatter,” and, coincidentally, “Lindsey Graham is Now a Global Warming Alarmist.”

Cover photo: “Lindsey Graham practicing his card counting skills for the Underdog Debate” by DonkeyHotey is licensed under CC BY 4.0

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