Federal panel will be formed to discuss implications of legal online gambling

Federal panel will be formed to discuss implications of legal online gambling

Legalizing online slots and other forms of online poker has long been a hot spot for political debate. A recent statement by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) caused many state officials to raise their voices in favor of legalizing intrastate online gambling, according to The Heartland Institute. The DOJ issued a written opinion on whether the practice of selling lottery tickets to out-of-state residents was a violation of the Wire Act.

Tricky legal wording made it unclear whether online gambling that crosses state borders was allowed. The news source reports that the DOJ ruled that the Interstate Wire Act, which was passed in 1961, technically only covers betting on sporting events and other contests, but not other forms of gambling, such as online slots or roulette.

"There is literally no federal law standing in the way of a state authorizing intrastate online games, and even entering into compacts with other states and nations to share players interstate and internationally," I. Nelson Rose, a legal gambling expert, wrote in a paper presented to the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States last month, the publication reports.

Later this week, the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will discuss the DOJ's recent opinion and how the claim will affect gaming interests of Native American tribes. A Poker News report indicates that tribal communities involving in the gambling industry have varying opinions on online gambling.

"The legalization of internet gambling comes at a risk to tribal communities," said Tulalip Tribe's vice chairman Glen Gobin at the first Senate hearing in November, according to the publication. "The proponents that seek to legalize internet gambling say it will create $41 billion over the next 10 years. However, lets not forget that Indian gaming will provide $256 billion in the same period."

Many tribal gaming groups feel as though online gambling, especially between states, could take customers away from their brick-and-mortar operations. Others, like the Mohegan tribe in Connecticut, think this opportunity could greatly benefit their businesses.

Do you think intrastate gambling will encourage gamblers to go online instead of visiting casinos? Would allowing this practice to go on encourage the federal government to make a nationwide ruling on the subject?

Published on 8 February 2012