Under the U.S. Wire Act, online gambling was considered illegal. Towards the end of 2011, a Justice Department ruling essentially neutered the online gambling provisions of the Wire Act. Since the ruling several states have legalized online gambling, New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware to be precise. Other states, including California, are considering this as well. Congress doesn’t seem to be too happy about it.
The battle over legalization of internet gambling is heating up. Today, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) announced joint legislation that would ban all internet gambling with the exception of fantasy sports and horse racing. Online gambling was considered illegal under the US Wire Act until a Justice Department decision in late 2011. Since then, Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey have legalized forms of online gambling, and other states including California are considering doing the same. The new bill would restore the old interpretation of the Wire Act, says Senator Graham, who objected to the way online gambling was legalized through a judge’s decision and not through the legislative branch. “If you want to have online gambling, then come to the Congress,” he says. “Let’s have a debate.”