Under the U.S. Wire Act, online gambling was considered illegal. Towards the end of 2011, a Justice Department ruling essentially neutered the online gambling provisions of the Wire Act. Since the ruling several states have legalized online gambling, New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware to be precise. Other states, including California, are considering this as well. Congress doesn’t seem to be too happy about it. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) today introduced joint legislation that seeks to ban all forms of online gaming except horse racing and fantasy sports.
Sen. Graham objected to the legalization of online gambling through a judge’s decision, and said that it should have gone through the legislative branch instead. “Come to the Congress,” he says, if you want to legalize online gambling. The new legislation seeks to restore the Wire Act’s old interpretation, which would effectively make online gambling illegal once again.
The bill will be introduced in Congress later this week. Quite a few well known members of Congress have voiced their support for the bill. Advocates for online gambling hold the view that it should remain legal, but that it should be regulated so as to prevent people from becoming addicted to online gambling.