Why Does Lindsey Graham Suddenly Care About Online Gambling? A Few Million Possible Reasons Come to Mind

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) confirmed to GamblingCompliance.com last week that he is working on a federal bill that would ban regulated online gambling.

Graham’s bill appears to be a wholly separate effort from the anti-online gambling initiative recently floated by Nevada Sen. Dean Heller.

Bill outlined by Graham appears to mirror Adelson’s efforts

Graham has yet to introduce a bill or release any draft language.

But, based on his comments to GamblingCompliance, the Senator intends to sponsor legislation similar to the so-called Wire Act “fix” advanced by Sheldon Adelson and the Adelson-backed Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling.

CSIG and Adelson recently engaged in a failed attempt to gain support from state attorneys general for a Congressional revision of the Wire Act.

Graham told GamblingCompliance that his effort “restores the Wire Act,” calling the DoJ’s reinterpretation “off base” and asserting that it “is imperative we move forward” on a revision of the Wire Act by Congress.

Graham confirmed to GamblingCompliance that his bill will not contain “a carve-out for poker,” aligning it even more closely with Adelson’s and CSIG’s legislative goals.

Graham has virtually no previous history with online gambling issue

Graham’s sudden interest in the Wire Act specifically, and online gambling in general, is just that: sudden.

Prior to the last week, the Senator has no comments on record that I could locate concerning the DoJ’s updated interpretation of the Wire Act, which occurred in December of 2011.

I also was unable to locate any comments, legislation, resolutions and so on from Graham concerning the launch of regulated online gambling in Nevada, Delaware or New Jersey.

Nor could I find any legislation sponsored or co-sponsored by Graham concerning online gambling.

Graham did voice objections (here and here) to Sen. Harry Reid’s 2010 lame-duck effort to regulate online poker. Those are the only two returns for a search for “gambling” or “wire act” on Graham’s official website.

Graham’s re-election a possible factor in his sudden interest

Graham is up for re-election this cycle. While he currently holds a substantial edge over the field heading into the June primary, it’s not as much of a lead as the Senator might like.

Anything less than a majority in the primary results in a runoff between the top two vote getters, a suboptimal scenario for Graham in a state where Tea Party supporters – a weak point for Graham – make up 57% of the primary pool.

As GamblingCompliance notes, Sheldon Adelson and Lindsey Graham have little in the way of a prior relationship when it comes to campaign contributions, a fact echoed by data from the Center for Responsible Politics.

And the CRP also makes it clear that, at least as of December 31st, 2013, Graham had a commanding financial lead over his opponents.

But Graham would likely be willing to spend, and therefore raise, whatever it takes to avoid a potentially bruising runoff election.

Campaign finance disclosure reports for the current quarter are due April 15th, 2014.

This article utilizes content, with permission, from GamblingCompliance.com, a leading provider of independent business intelligence to the global gambling industry. Visit GamblingCompliance here.

- Chris is the publisher of OnlinePokerReport.com. Grove also serves as a consultant to various stakeholders in the regulated market for online gambling in the United States.
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