US Senator Urges Attorney General Jeff Sessions to Ban Online Gambling

Another US lawmaker has joined the company of politicians to be openly and vocally opposing a 2011 memo of the Department of Justice that practically gave the green light to each individual state to legalize and regulate online gambling within its borders.

Political journalism website The Hill reported on Tuesday that Senator Mark Warner urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a July 5 letter to review the 2011 DoJ ruling in due time and manner. According to the US Senate member, gambling websites were “especially fertile platforms” for collusion, money laundering, and other illicit activities. Sen. Warner further wrote that iGaming services represented a serious threat to the vulnerable members of the population due to their “potentially predatory nature.”

At his confirmation hearing earlier this year, Attorney General Sessions promised to revisit the 2011 memo. He further commented that the he was shocked by the DoJ’s decision and that he would personally look into the matter and make a decision based on careful study.

Back in 2011, the US Government’s now main legal advisor was among the officials to oppose the memo. Generally speaking, it allowed states to approve the legalization of online gaming and to create their own regulatory frameworks for their industries’ regulation. The DoJ decision encompassed the legalization and regulation of online casino games, poker included, but excluded sports betting.

The memo came as a clarification to the original Interstate (Federal) Wire Act of 1961, under which the provision of betting and wagering services via wire communication was illegal. The 2011 DoJ ruling read that the Act applied to sports betting only. Online gambling opponents have been calling for a reversal of that early 2010s decision and for the ensuing implementation of a federal ban on iGaming.

Casino News Daily has recently reported about potential new attempts by US lawmakers to introduce what has become known as the Restoration of America’s Wire Act or RAWA to the US Congress. Both House and Senate legislators have previously tried to sneak the bill, which is known to be supported by casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, into the Legislature, but without much success.

Meanwhile, it became known in early July that Attorney General Sessions has recused himself from an online gambling ruling, despite his previous promise to act on the matter. Media cited conflict of interest as the reason for his decision to refrain from any actions.

It was reported last month that Attorney General Sessions had hired Charles Cooper as his personal lawyer to defend his interests in an ongoing investigation over alleged Russian interference in last year’s Presidential Election. However, Mr. Cooper had also previously been hired by a Mr. Adelson-backed anti-online gambling group to lobby against the 2011 DoJ memo.

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