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Restore America's Wire Act

With the stroke of a pen, unfettered Internet gambling could soon be imposed on all 50 states.

Previous administrations from both parties have held that the federal Wire Act bars Internet gambling. That position has enjoyed bipartisan support from the public, their representatives and from the attorneys general of most states. But without any notice, consultation with Congress, or public input, the Justice Department on December 23, 2011, issued a legal opinion reversing that interpretation. The reversal unleashes the potential for an unregulated gambling industry to be imposed nationwide.

States have a right to regulate gambling within their borders. Two states, Utah and Hawaii, have consistently rejected all forms of gambling. Is it practical to expect these states to be able to maintain this position when residents can access online gaming through their phone? We need to understand the answers to these questions before we venture down this path.

In addition, state attorneys general have expressed concerns about the use of online gaming as a conduit for money laundering. In 2009 the FBI expressed similar concerns about fraud and money laundering by criminal elements.

We need to have a debate about whether a full casino should be accessible to every smartphone in America. By restoring the long-standing interpretation of the Wire Act, this bill would allow that debate to take place.

If supporters of online gaming want to come to Congress and argue that this new interpretation of the Wire Act should go forward, then we will be happy to have that debate. But moving forward absent that process is irresponsible.

Supporting Documentation

Endorsements from Business Groups

  1. Letter from Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee to Rep. Bob Goodlatte; re: support for Rep. Chaffetz’s Restoration of America’s Wire Act, HR 4301, August 31, 2014
  2. Letter from The Family Foundation to Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte; re: cosponsorship of Rep. Chaffetz’s Restoration of America’s Wire Act, HR 4301, August 22, 2014
  3. Letter from Family Research Council to US Senate; re cosponsorship of Restoration of America’s Wire Act of 2014 (S.2159), April 2, 2014
  4. Letter from Family Research Council to US House of Representatives; re cosponsorship of Restoration of America’s Wire Act of 2014 (S.2159), April 2, 2014
  5. Letter from the National Association of Convenience Stores to Sen. Lindsey Graham; re: support for Restoration of America’s Wire Act, March 31, 2014
  6. Letter from American Family Association, American Family Association of Indiana, American Principles Project, et al to Congress; re: the DOJ’s reversal of the Wire Act, specifically internet gambling, March 26, 2014
  7. Bad Juju, NACS Online, Lyle Beckwith
  8. Letter from Cumberland Farms to Rep. Kelly Ayotte; re: cosponsorship of S. 2159, the Restoration of America’s Wire Act, September 12, 2014
  9. Letter from Concerned Women for America of Georgia to Rep. Doug Collins; re: the DOJ reversal of its interpretation of the Wire Act, as that statute applies to Internet gambling, October 10, 2014
  10. African American Mayors Association, Inc.; Resolution Adopted, February 11, 2015


Endorsements from Government Officials

  1. Letter from Senator Mark Warner to Attorney General Eric J. Holder, Jr.; requesting background and clarification regarding Department of Justice’s position concerning Internet gaming, July 8, 2014
  2. Letter from Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Sen. Kelly Ayotte to Attorney General Eric J. Holder, Jr.; requesting support for legislation introduced in response to DOJ’s re-interpretation of statute, July 28, 2014
  3. Letter from Attorneys General of AZ, FL, Guam, HA, KA, MI, MS, MT, NB, ND, SC, SD, TX, UT, VT, WY; re: policy implications of reversal of DOJ’s interpretation of the Wire Act as it applies to Internet Gambling, February 4, 2014
  4. Letter from National Association of Attorneys General to the 109th Congress; re: support legislation seeking to combat illegal Internet gambling, March 21, 2006
  5. Letter from Gov. Rick Perry to Congress; re: the DOJ reversal of its interpretation of the Wire Act, as that statute applies to Internet gambling, March 24, 2014
  6. Letter from Gov. Nikki Haley to Congress; re: DOJ reversal of its interpretation of the Wire Act, as that statute applies to Internet gambling, March 24, 2014
  7. Letter from Gov. Rick Scott to Congress; re: the DOJ reversal of its interpretation of the Wire Act, as that statute applies to Internet gambling, April 22, 2014
  8. Letter from Sen. Harry Reid and Sen. Jon Kyl to Attorney General Eric Holder, requesting he reiterate the DOJ’ position that the federal law prohibits Internet gambling, July 14, 2011
  9. Letter from Gov. Michael R. Pence to Indiana Congressional Delegation; re: support for the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, May 1, 2014
  10. Online Gambling’s Other Cost, Gov. Rick Perry, National Review Online, May 21, 2014
  11. Internet Gambling a Bad Bet for American Middle Class, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Baton Rouge Business Report, February 14, 2014
 

Editorials/News Articles

  1. USA Today Editorial: Internet gambling is a bad bet: Our view, November 20, 2013
  2. New York Times Editorial: New Jersey Goes All In, Online, November 25, 2013
  3. The Christian Science Monitor, Why the chips are down for Internet gambling, July 21, 2014
  4. Newsweek, Poker Face, August 22, 2014