Federal law prohibits betting on sports in all of the United States, with a few narrow exceptions. Be that as it may, several state governments now want to license brick-and-mortar venues to offer wagering on sports. Sooner or later, the controversy will have to be tried in federal court.
Last week I wrote an article for Global Betting & Gaming Consultants exploring the potential path to legalized sports betting in the United States. The article explains that ultimately federal courts must decide whether the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) is consistent with the U.S. Constitution.
A federal court action would focus on two distinct issues: 1) whether the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution reserves for each of the 50 states the right to provide their own laws for sports betting, and 2) whether the Interstate Commerce Clause gives power to the federal government to make laws for sports betting.
These issues will in any event take years to settle.
Please visit the website of Global Betting & Gaming Consultants to read the full article: New Jersey’s Rush for Sports Betting Must Blast Through Federal Courts.
Posted in California, New Jersey, New York, U.S. Federal
Tagged Chris Christie, Commerce Power, GBGC, Interstate Commerce Clause, New Jersey, New York, PASPA, Raymond Lesniak, Sports betting, states' rights
A small fire was started in December when US Attorney General Eric Holder, through his Legislative Affairs Office, sent a letter to Senators Jon Kyl and Harry Reid. The subject of the letter was a Memorandum Opinion drafted by Holder’s Legal Counsel Office, addressing two very specific questions of federal law related to internet gambling.
The Memorandum Opinion is significant because it adopts a shocking new interpretation of federal law with regard to unsettled questions surrounding internet gambling. It used to be the official position of the US Justice Department that all gambling on the internet violates federal law. The former position inferred a very broad scope from the language of the Wire Act of 1961.
The new position adopted in the Memorandum Opinion takes a more literal reading of the Wire Act, limiting its terms to interstate wagering on sports, which was likelier the intent of Congress in 1961.
Presumably Holder’s Office of Legal Affairs sent the Memorandum to Senators Kyl and Reid because the the Senators had earlier in 2011 published a letter of their own in which they criticized Holder’s Justice Department for a lack of consistency and aggression in enforcing internet gambling law. The Senators requested that Holder either confirm the Justice Department’s traditional approach to the Wire Act or else explain any new approach to Congress. In that regard, the Memorandum Opinion speaks for itself.
The broad significance of the Memorandum Opinion is that if the Wire Act applies only to sports wagering, then state legislatures are free to license and regulate poker, casino games, and lotteries on the internet. The effect in media and government has been profound, and there are many indications that policymakers in the state and federal governments are having serious discussions about the prospects of legalization.
For an in-depth exploration of the Memorandum Opinion, please see an article I wrote for Global Betting & Gaming Consultants of the UK: US Government Moves out of the States’ Way.
See also: Memorandum Opinion of the Attorney General’s Office of Legal Counsel: Whether Proposals by Illinois and New York to Use the Internet and Out-of-State Transaction Processors to Sell Lottery Tickets to In-State Adults Violate the Wire Act
See also: Letter from Attorney General’s Office of Legislative Affairs to Senators Jon Kyl and Harry Reid (please note, this is a large file– 4.3 Mb)
Posted in U.S. Federal
Tagged DOJ, Eric Holder, Harry Reid, internet gambling, interstate, intrastate, Jon Kyl, Justice Department, Memorandum Opinion, Sports betting, states' rights, Wire Act