Senator Mark Warner has called on US Attorney General Jeff Sessions to ban online gambling on a federal level, adding his voice to some of his colleagues calling for the same. In a letter penned to Sessions on July 5th, Warner wrote that online gaming sites are “especially fertile platforms for the facilitation of money laundering, collusion and other illegal activities.”
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He also said that “the potentially predatory nature of online gambling represents a heightened threat to economically vulnerable populations.”
Pressure is mounting on the new Attorney General to reverse the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel’s 2011 decision regarding the 1969 Wire Act that was the catalyst for regulated online gambling in a number of states. During a confirmation hearing earlier this year, Sessions said about the reversed decision that he would “revisit it or make a decision about it based on careful study”. He said at the time that he was “shocked” by the DOJ’s “unusual” memo on the subject and noted that, as a Republican Senator at the time it was passed, he was opposed to the decision.
In Warner’s letter to Sessions, the senator wrote that the Office of Legal Counsel’s 2011 opinion “appears to be based on legal interpretation alone and does not provide background on the extent to which consideration was given to social, economic and law enforcement implications.”
Since the beginning of the year, a number of lawmakers have written to Sessions, urging him to overturn the DOJ’s memo, including ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), both members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Attempts have also been made in the past year to introduce federal legislation that would ban online gambling outright, such as the Restoration of American Wire Act (RAWA), through the backing of the billionaire gambling tycoon, Sheldon Adelson.