Big government liberal RINO senator Lindsey Graham is seeking to ban online poker and all forms of online gambling at the federal level. The latest news is that he’s planning to introduce legislation that would strengthen the UIGEA of 2006.
The UIGEA already somewhat bans online gambling and poker, but anti-gambling folks feel the legislation never went far enough. Vague language in the UIGEA combined with a DOJ interpretation of the Wire Act (a bill from the 60s that bans betting over the phone) have given individual states the leeway to legalize online gambling and poker at the state level.
The current situation is this: online poker and gambling are not legal at the federal level, but states have the option to legalize both activities within their borders. New Jersey became the most recent state to go live with real money casinos in late 2013.
States that choose to legalize gambling are allowed only to do so within their borders. That means they can offer real money games to people inside state lines but must restrict those from out of the state. Some states own the casino sites; others have allowed private businesses to come in and host their own games.
Lindsey Graham’s goal is to put an end to it all. Reputable sources say his legislation will seek to ban online gambling across the board. No poker, no casinos, no nothing. He wants to keep all gambling and poker activity restricted to brick-and-mortar casinos.
Lindsey Graham is siding with Sheldon Adelson, who last year pledged to devote big bucks to getting all online gambling and poker outlawed. Mr. Adelson is a brick-and-mortar casino mogul who claims to have a “moral” opposition to online gambling. It’s hard to take Mr. Adelson at his word considering the fact that he made his fortune off the backs of gamblers in Vegas.
All in all, this is supremely irritating. Senator Graham supposedly represents the party that supports individual liberty and limited government, but here he is trying to give the government the authority to step in and enact yet another prohibition.
Even if he was pure in his intentions to protect us from ourselves, I say that it’s none of his business what we spend our money on from inside our own homes. However, the odds are that’s not even why he wants to ban online gambling.
The more likely scenario is that he is acting merely to protect the interests of existing brick-and-mortar casinos. You want to gamble your future away at the local casino? Go for it. You want to do the same exact thing online? No way, that’s irresponsible!
What’s funny about this whole thing is that this is one of the few issues in which Lindsey Graham is willing to take a stand against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D). In just about every other important issue, Graham has caved on party values and acquiesced to Harry Reid’s wishes. I don’t want to get completely sidetracked by politics, but suffice it to say that it’s funny this is the issue in which Lindsey Graham finally decides to take a stand.
If this story outrages you, you can visit this Poker Player’s Alliance Google+ page to speak up for your rights. There you’ll find several links that you can use to send pre-written form letters and tweets directly to Senator Graham as well as links to a Facebook post where others have already written in opposition to his soon-to-be legislation.