Legislation Introduced to Ban Online Gaming

Online gaming has had a rocky history in the U.S.

Online gamblingSites like Party Poker and Poker Stars rose in popularity as ESPN began broadcasting the World Series of Poker live on television. However, these sites were taken down by the Justice Department for breaking a variety of laws. Recently, both Nevada and New Jersey re-introduced online gaming to the U.S., but there is already legislation attempting to ban it again.

Billionaire casino magnate, Sheldon Adelson, is the key supporter of the legislation and numerous lawmakers are introducing it to the government. If passed, the bill would close a three-year loophole which allowed Nevada and New Jersey to legalize online gaming, according to The New York Times.

“It is unfortunate when an industry undermines itself,” Jan L. Jones, a former mayor of Las Vegas who is now the head of government relations at Caesars Entertainment, told the Times. “This fight is tarnishing the entire industry. You just raise a whole specter of negativity that I think is unfortunate and inappropriate after we have spent the last three decades with a message that gaming is just entertainment enjoyed by responsible adults.”

Beyond the Legal Battle

However, the legal battle could be much greater than the fighting going on within the casino community. Adelson is causing quite the stir in Washington and the casino business with this legislation and the ultimate goal of Adelson’s┬ábill is to ban online gaming in all states. However, Nevada and New Jersey have already legalized Internet gambling.

This battle could be similar to that of legalized marijuana, as the Justice Department said it would not prosecute marijuana growers and distributors in states that legalized the drug as long as there was strong state regulation. If Adelson’s bill is passed, it will be interesting to see if the federal government attempts to overturn Nevada and New Jersey law or if it will go the route of legalized marijuana.

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Anthony R. Caruso is a business transactional attorney in New York and New Jersey with experience in structuring, negotiation and completion of legal deals involving business, entrepreneurs, athletes and performers.

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