In December, 10 state attorneys general sent a letter to the Trump transition team in support of a federal online gambling ban.
Sen. Lindsey Graham decided the Wire Act’s applicability to online gambling was an important enough issue to bring up during attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing.
These renewed efforts have caused a good deal of anxiety from supporters of legal, state-regulated online gaming.
They’re pushing back against these possible new federal laws and calling on the administration to honor its pro-business promises and reject these new federal regulations.
And that’s exactly what they are.
The idea that the Restoration of America’s Wire Act restores anything is poppycock, as is the notion pushed by a small contingent of anti-online gambling lawmakers and advocates that the government needs to revisit the 2011 Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel opinion that unshackled states from the federal government, thereby allowing states to legalize online gambling.
A federal online gambling creates new regulations that would only cause harm.
Where it has been legalized, online gambling is being effectively regulated by the states to protect consumers, and create jobs and revenue.
Online gambling has given casinos in New Jersey their first revenue increase since 2006, and it put $35 million of tax revenue in New Jersey’s coffers in 2016.
Furthermore, because of online gambling, Atlantic City casinos are investing and innovating, creating jobs and economic opportunities outside of gaming through advertising.
The idea that the federal government is going to step in and put an end to this led to a resolution introduced by New Jersey Assemblyman Vincent Mazzeo calling on the Trump administration and Congress to oppose these attempts to regulate online gambling at the federal level.
Mazzeo’s resolution essentially says: Don’t let the feds regulate us out of business.
New Jersey is not alone. Nevada and Delaware have successfully regulated and are operating online gaming sites without any federal involvement. So are the Georgia, Michigan, Illinois, and Kentucky lotteries.
RAWA or a reversal of the 2011 OLC opinion would put an end to all of this and create new, sweeping federal regulations.
If either came to pass, overreaching federal regulations would be imposed. This would put a tremendous burden on states and the businesses operating in them, costing both jobs and money.
A federal online gambling ban would not only prevent other states from following New Jersey’s lead, but it would also undo everything New Jersey (as well as Nevada and Delaware) has done on this front.
In short, a federal online gambling ban would replace New Jersey’s effective regulations with ineffective federal regulations that would cost the state revenue and jobs and stifle business opportunities in the Garden State.
Not to mention…
A federal ban on sports betting outside of Nevada (several other states have smaller sports betting exemptions) was enacted in 1992, and it’s done nothing to quell the appetite for betting on sports in the United States. All it’s done is send that industry underground.
So, instead of targeted state-level regulations that work — as is the case for Nevada’s thriving sports betting industry — the rest of the country has to deal with unnecessary federal regulation that prevents states from choosing their own paths.
It’s both anti-business and a job killer.
The new administration’s views on regulations couldn’t be clearer.
Throughout his successful presidential campaign, Donald Trump emphasized the elimination of what he called “destructive” government regulations. Candidate and now-President Trump has mentioned these anti-business, employment-squashing regulatory burdens on numerous occasions.
In a speech to the New York Economic Club on Sept. 15, 2016, Trump stated:
“If we lower our taxes, remove destructive regulations, unleash the vast treasure of American energy, and negotiate trade deals that put America first, then there is no limit to the number of jobs we can create and the amount of prosperity we can unleash.”
Trump went on to say:
“One of the keys to unlocking growth is scaling-back years of disastrous regulations unilaterally imposed by our out-of-control bureaucracy. Regulations have grown into a massive, job-killing industry – and the regulation industry is one business I will put an end to.”
[Author’s note: I’ve included Trump’s full plan to tackle regulations, taken from his campaign website, at the end of this column.]
President Trump has continued to rail against regulations, going so far as to create a new White House position, dubbed the “special adviser on regulatory issues.”
Trump tagged billionaire casino owner Carl Icahn for the newly-minted position in December, saying, “His help on the strangling regulations that our country is faced with will be invaluable.”
Said Icahn in a statement issued by the Trump transition team in December:
“Under President Obama, America’s business owners have been crippled by over $1 trillion in new regulations. It’s time to break free of excessive regulation and let our entrepreneurs do what they do best: create jobs and support communities.”
One of the most burdensome regulations Congress is mulling over is a federal online gambling ban, and if the Trump administration goes along with it, it will be breaking one of its core campaign promises.
Trump devoted an entire webpage of his campaign website to over-regulation. In fact, regulatory reform designed to unshackle business from overreaching federal regulations was one of his most detailed policy objectives.
Read Donald J. Trump’s Plan To Put an End to Burdensome Regulations here.