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U.S. AG Sessions Looking to Ban Online Gambling

04/18/2017

Under the category of "what could he possible be thinking?", it appears that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is poised to make a possible move to try to ban online gambling at the federal level. What's odd about this scuttlebutt is it comes amid an environment where there is very little support is proceeding in this direction. That is unless you to someone like casino mogul (The Sands Group) Sheldon Adelson.

Adelson has built his financial empire by developing and opening land-based casinos all over the world. That includes to major properties in Las Vegas, Singapore and Macau. Interestingly, he also owns a casino property in Pennsylvania, one of three states that has formally approved online casino gambling for its residents under strict regulations. Clearly, Mr. Adelson is not interested in competing against online casinos for revenues.

Realistically, one would have to wonder what would be achieved by such a ban. In 2011, the Department of Justice under the Barack Obama administration issued an opinion that determined states could legalize and regulate online gambling within its own borders. To date, the three states that have passed such legislation, Nevada, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, have operated with no issues or glitches while raising much needed revenues for the state's coffers. 

New Jersey has reported $80 million in tax revenues over the last three years. It is estimated that Pennsylvania could realize as much as $500 million over the next three years. In addition to the revenues, all three states have reported the creation of much needed jobs. That would include as many as 3,300 full time positions in New Jersey alone.

If Adelson is indeed behind this clamor, which many experts would view as crony capitalism, he would be in the minority. While many other states are currently looking into laws related to online gambling, one thing is clear. The support for said legislation is growing to include lawmakers on both sides of the isle. The main item that seems to create logjams in state congresses is the way tax revenues would be raised and used. The actual gambling aspect seems to be of little concern these days.

Further complicating this issue for AG Sessions would be the fact it flies in the face of "States Rights" to regulate themselves on such issues. Many prominent attorneys and scholars admit the passing of any bill that bans online gambling at the federal level would probably fail if it got to the courts.

 
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