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American Lotteries Oppose Federal Ban on Online Poker

Federal Ban

Sheldon Adelson’s opposition increased this week, as the North American Association of State & Provincial Lotteries (NASPL) issued a letter to Sen. Lindsey Graham, contesting his proposed federal ban on online poker.

“Our Association believes, and is on record, that all gaming should be left up to the individual states to determine the games that are offered, as well as the manner in which they are being delivered to their customers,” writes NASPL Executive Director David Gale. “This is, and has always been, a state’s right to make these decisions as they relate to gaming within its respective boarders. Since lottery products are sold in a competing market, it is important that we continue to design and offer secure games that people want to play so that lottery states can continue to fund the much-needed programs and/or services for which lottery revenues are earmarked.”

Graham and Rep. Jason Chaffetz introduced the Restoration of America’s Wire Act to the Senate and House of Representatives respectively, in an effort to force online gambling conversations to take place in Congress rather than in the individual states. In a press release, Chaffetz claims that the Department of Justice reinterpreted the Wire Act in Dec. 2011 “without significant public input.”

“These fundamental changes need to go through Congress,” Chaffetz adds.

If the Wire Act was restored, and all online wagering was outlawed, then large multi-state lotteries like Mega Millions and Powerball would no longer be able to accept entries on the internet. Likewise, state-based lotteries with online distribution would also be adversely affected.

“It is our intent, and indeed our obligation, to protect our traditional games and to position our industry for growth,” Gale writes.

NASPL represents 52 lotteries in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The company broke records last year with $83.3 billion in sales, and over $23 billion in transfers to various government-funded projects. Their defense of the Tenth Amendment – state’s rights – is in line with the Coalition for Consumer & Online Protection, Adelson’s most notable opposition.

Photo courtesy of SXC

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