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The American Conservative Union against online gambling in the US

February 16, 2015

The American Conservative Union does not want US congress to pass any bill that would decriminalize online gambling in the United States. The group has been the latest one to come out with not much in favor of a bill to regulate the online gambling market countrywide, something that many have already identified as another of the strategic movements from Republican Party and their sponsors, mostly land-based casino moguls and Native American tribes with casino franchises. The American Conservative Union, however, is not pleased with applying again the federal prohibition on online gambling through the Restoration of America’s Wire Act. The union does not agree with the idea of having a federal online gambling regulation as they consider that online gambling is more of a states matter and it should not be regulated by the Federal Government.

ACU Executive Director Dan Schneider has made a public release earlier this week: “Jason Chaffetz is a good conservative with an American Conservative Union lifetime rating of 94 percent. However, we are disappointed that on this issue he is taking the side of big government. Conservatives do not have to agree on the value of gambling, but we should agree that it is unwise to use the brute force of the federal government to try to stop states from making their own decisions on this activity, especially if the reason for this action is to support gambling entrepreneurs in Las Vegas. Unfortunately for them, what happens in Vegas does not stay in Vegas; it should be up to the states to determine if they want to reject or accept Vegas. The ACU trusts governors, including the 31 Republicans, to set the gambling regulations in each state; whether that is prohibition or regulation. The federal government does have a role in legitimate law enforcement matters, but it should not take on the added responsibility of overriding a state’s inherent police powers. Indeed, Congress already has expressly supported the rights of each state with this activity in the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 where the fundamental principle of states’ rights was preserved.”

While there are certainly conservative interests that would like to see a ban for all types of gambling — online or otherwise — many of those interests simply do not want a federal prohibition of a variety of issues. The Poker Players Alliance also pointed out the states’ rights issue in decrying RAWA.

Some states, like Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware, have already regulated some forms of online gambling. Some groups, like Sheldon Adelson’s Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, are only bringing more issues to the matter by joining forces with religious groups and politic associations in an attempt to stop all forms of online gambling. The most relevant group for the gambling industry in the US, the American Gaming Association, has not come out yet with any declaration but it is expected that the group does not stay neutral on this issue.

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