Dent had launched
the attempt to replicate the language inserted into
the Senate’s Commerce, Justice & Science Appropriations bill report by
Senator and former presidential candidate Linsdsey Graham.
Dent withdrew the proposed amendment before House colleagues could decide
whether to officially include it in the report.
Appropriations bill, which sets out government funding for the following year,
the report is not binding and is not voted into law, but indicates lawmakers’
In this case the
language is designed to be used as a proxy for the Restore America’s Wire Act
(RAWA) legislation and could be used by lawmakers in an attempt to push through
an iGaming ban at a later date.
The Senate report
contains the text: “Internet Gambling — Since 1961, the Wire Act has prohibited
nearly all forms of gambling over interstate wires, including the Internet.
However, beginning in 2011, certain states began to permit Internet gambling.
“The Committee notes
that the Wire Act did not change in 2011. The Committee also notes that the
Supreme Court of the United States has stated that ‘criminal laws are for
courts, not for the Government, to construe.’”
Poker Players Alliance
(PPA) executive director John Pappas told Gaming Intelligence that this
as “a very, very weak proxy for RAWA”, but predicted that it would be used to
claim support for an iGaming ban.
“I don’t think they
will succeed,” he added.
House Republicans had
planned to add similar language into the House report, with Pennsylvania
Representative Charlie Dent aiming to have it included. Dent represents
Pennsylvania’s 15th congressional district, in which Las Vegas Sands’ (LVS)
Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem is located. LVS’ chief executive Sheldon Adelson
is the most vocal and high-profile supporter of a blanket online gaming ban in
This attempt was
defeated in part by the PPA, which launched a major lobbying effort to erode
any potential support for the addition. With such little support for the
amendment, Dent removed the language, although he warned that he would
renew efforts at a later date.
“It’s not over but
it’s a small victory for our side and shows there is no an appetite for that
sort of legislation particularly when done in that way,” Pappas commented.
He criticised attempts
to “sneak through” anti-iGaming language rather than have “up-down” Senate and
House votes on the issue.