Published On: Wed, Apr 19th, 2017

Online Gambling Ban May Be Reintroduced in the United States

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Gambling in the United States of America is legal under the provisions of the US federal law, but several restrictions have been placed on online and interstate gambling. Each state is allowed to regulate gambling activities within its borders. But casino-style gambling is legally restricted in all states of America except Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada.


But online gambling has faced more strict restrictions than other forms of gambling. The Interstate Wire Act of 1961 prohibits certain types of betting businesses in the country and bans Internet sports gambling practices. But the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit gave a ruling in November 2002 that the Federal Wire Act does not ban Internet gambling on a game of chance. While some states have their own laws banning online gambling, many states don’t.


Reintroduction of the Federal Wire Act, 1961


The US Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering the reintroduction of the ban on all online gambling activities regulated by the states. Despite a lack of support from the National Governors Association, Jeff Sessions is keen on reintroducing the ban.


The US Attorney makes this move after being lobbied by a number of groups that favor the restoration of the Interstate Wire Act in the United States. The restoration of the Interstate Wire Act, 1961 would ban all online gaming activities in the United States.


A ruling made by the US circuit court in 2011 said that the Interstate Wire Act applied to sports betting. This ruling created a loophole in the law regulating online gaming and gave an opportunity to individual states to legalize online gambling within their state boundaries.


Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey are the only states to accept the introduction of a state-regulated online gaming mechanism. Other states are considering similar schemes to regulate their online gaming market. But the restoration of the Interstate Wire Act would be “business-killing” for states like New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada, where online gaming is gaining heat and investments are being pooled in the industry.


Moreover, the federal ban would pose a great threat to employment, taxation, and the state budget in these states. The ban would nullify their purpose of protecting consumers and creating revenues and jobs. The proposal to reintroduce the federal ban has triggered nationwide criticism because it would harm states and consumers, and support illegal offshore betting activities.

About the Author

- iGaming & land based specialist reporter for the global gaming market