Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 29, 2015

Online Gambling Foes Raise the Stakes

A new hand started Wednesday in the high-stakes battle over online gambling.

The fight involves some of the nation’s most powerful figures, including Las Vegas casino mogul and major GOP contributor Sheldon Adelson, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other assorted characters who don’t line up neatly along partisan lines.

After lawmakers unveiled legislation Wednesday to revive a ban on Internet gambling, Sen. Dean Heller didn’t immediately bash it.

The Nevada Republican said he was still reviewing the bill, but said it seemed like “a reasonable first step.” Heller has found common ground with Reid, the Silver State’s senior Democratic senator, in seeking to allow for legal online poker in Nevada and other states that so choose, while otherwise bringing back prohibitions under the Wire Act that were upended in 2011, when the Justice Department reinterpreted the law’s gaming ban to allow states to deploy a wide variety of games.

Both sides seem to want to get out of the regulatory no man’s land created by the 2011 reinterpretation.

“This is about really the wild, wild west on the Internet and restoring the Wire Act so that there is authority to address crime that occurs with regard to Internet gambling,” said Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., who is a co-sponsor of the Senate version of the prohibition being spearheaded by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

“To just have an individual … in the bowels of the Department of Justice unilaterally making this change, we believe it’s wrong,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who is spearheading the House companion effort.

When asked if the Graham bill would compete with a poker measure, Heller said “not necessarily.”

But, how could that be? Perhaps because while Graham and his House GOP counterpart Chaffetz insist they would oppose efforts to amend their bill with a poker carve-out, they seemed to invite the debate.

“There are those that would argue that Internet gambling should happen in a broad stroke. Some believe that Internet gambling should happen just for poker,” Chaffetz said. “If there is a case that people want to make for online gambling, they need to come to the Congress.

“The Congress could, or should, debate this and then perhaps that piece of legislation would ultimately pass,” Chaffetz said, adding, “I personally would be against that.”

As the man in charge of Senate floor operations, Reid might be able to devise a process to rig the game so that an amendment to provide a poker exemption would have to be adopted to move forward. As for the more prohibitive bill unveiled Wednesday, Graham insists he isn’t doing the bidding of Adelson in proposing the change.

“I would say that Sheldon has aligned himself with most Baptists in South Carolina,” the Republican senator said.

“South Carolina rolled back video poker gambling,” Graham said. “We banned video poker. If this interpretation holds, every cellphone is a video poker terminal. I’m on solid footing in South Carolina with people I represent. The fact that Sheldon is on board is a good thing, but I’m doing this because this is what my governor, my attorney general has suggested I do and what I think I should do.”

There’s bipartisan support for the bill in each chamber, and whenever the debate comes, the efforts won’t fall neatly on partisan lines. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, was among the lawmakers at Wednesday’s rollout and Graham has the backing of longtime online gaming opponent Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

“Internet gambling has been a longstanding position of mine and I’m happy to be on [Graham’s] bill,” Feinstein said.

Gabbard’s involvement should be no surprise, either, since Hawaii and Utah both have gambling prohibitions.

Humberto Sanchez contributed to this report.

Comments (17)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

author email

  1. lowCal90

    March 27, 2014
    2:42 p.m.

    As with liberty, the benefits of democratic processes are revealed over the long term.

  2. Sam Sung

    March 30, 2014
    4:19 a.m.

    Since our minds cannot predict their own future, civilization’s advance consists of learning from our mistakes, taking into account the lessons of accidents, and making the most of the fleeting circumstances we are faced with.

  3. Liberalism is Nonsense

    March 30, 2014
    9:43 a.m.

    The 20th century was rife with examples of people voting themselves toward enslavement and thus giving up liberty via democratic processes.

  4. Anonymous

    June 27, 2015
    5:02 a.m.

    You have noted very interesting details! ps decent website.

  5. Anonymous

    July 2, 2015
    3:09 p.m.

    Thank you for every other informative blog. Where else may I am getting that type of info written in such an ideal method? I have a venture that I am simply now working on, and I’ve been on the glance out for such info.

  6. Anonymous

    July 7, 2015
    8:58 a.m.

    I went over this web site and I believe you have a lot of great information, bookmarked (:.

  7. Anonymous

    July 7, 2015
    11:39 p.m.

    As soon as I observed this internet site I went on reddit to share some of the love with them.

  8. Anonymous

    July 12, 2015
    2:10 p.m.

    I’m not sure exactly why but this weblog is loading very slow for me. Is anyone else having this problem or is it a issue on my end? I’ll check back later on and see if the problem still exists.

  9. Anonymous

    July 21, 2015
    12:59 a.m.

    you are really a excellent webmaster. The website loading pace is incredible. It sort of feels that you’re doing any unique trick. Furthermore, The contents are masterwork. you have done a great process on this subject!

  10. Anonymous

    July 21, 2015
    2 a.m.

    As I website owner I think the articles here is rattling excellent, thanks for your efforts.

  11. Anonymous

    July 24, 2015
    5:49 a.m.

    I will right away seize your rss as I can not to find your email subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Please allow me realize in order that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  12. Anonymous

    July 24, 2015
    6:50 a.m.

    Hmm it seems like your blog ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any tips and hints for newbie blog writers? I’d really appreciate it.

  13. Anonymous

    July 24, 2015
    6:34 p.m.

    But wanna comment on few general things, The website design is perfect, the content material is really fantastic : D.

  14. Anonymous

    July 24, 2015
    11:32 p.m.

    of course like your web site however you have to check the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling problems and I find it very troublesome to tell the reality then again I¦ll certainly come again again.

  15. Anonymous

    July 25, 2015
    9:14 p.m.

    This web site is really a walk-through for all of the info you wanted about this and didn’t know who to ask. Glimpse here, and you’ll definitely discover it.

  16. Anonymous

    July 25, 2015
    11:44 p.m.

    I would like to thnkx for the efforts you have put in writing this website. I’m hoping the same high-grade web site post from you in the upcoming also. In fact your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own blog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a good example of it.

  17. Anonymous

    July 28, 2015
    9:13 a.m.

    so much excellent info on here, : D.

Sign In

Forgot password?



Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...