Online gambling next on Sessions's hit list?

Ordering federal attorneys to resume seeking maximum penalties for non-violent drug offenses is not the only action of the Obama Justice Department that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is likely to reverse -- which is really a shame, since there were so few pro-liberty actions taken by Obama's Justice Department.

Sessions -- who has a history of opposing online gambling -- told Senator Lindsey Graham during his confirmation hearing that he was interested in reversing the 2011 Justice Department memorandum stating Congress did not intend to outlaw online gambling when it passed The Interstate Wire Act in 1961.

The 2011 memo makes sense, not just because there was no Internet in 1961, but because there is plenty of commentary and interpretation of the law proving it was only intended to cover sports betting.

But the clear meaning of the bill is no deterrent to Sessions. Here is the exchange between he and Senator Graham (hat/tip to Forbes):

Graham: About the Wire Act, what’s your view of the Obama administration’s interpretation of the Wire Act, to allow online video poker, gambling?

Sessions: Senator, I was shocked at the memorandum, I guess the enforcement memorandum, that the Department of Justice issued, with regard to the Wire Act, and criticized it. Apparently there is some justification or argument that can be made to support the Department of Justice’s position. But I did oppose it when it happened, and it seemed to me to be unusual…

Graham: Would you revisit it?

Sessions: I would revisit it, and I would make a decision about it based on careful study, and I haven’t gone that far, to give you an opinion today.

Session's statement does leave some wiggle room for his mind to be changed, and my friends at Competitive Enterprise Institute expect the 2011 interpretation of the Wire Act to remain in place. I do not share their optimism.

We must continue to fight any efforts to pass legislation making online gaming a federal crime. So if your U.S. Representative serves on the House Judiciary Committee please call them and tell them to oppose any federal legislation imposing a nationwide ban on online gaming.


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