US Senator urges Attorney General to reverse iGaming legalisation

US S

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enator for Virginia, Mark Warner has joined the growing number of politicians calling for US Attorney General Jeff Sessions to dismiss the legality of a 2011 Department of Justice (DOJ) Memo which allowed individual states to legalise and regulate online gambling.

The controversial DOJ memo came after repeated efforts to clarify the language of the 1961 Wire Act which prohibits betting and wagering services via wire communication in the US. Officials from the DOJ later ruled that the text of the 1961 Act only applied to sports betting, a ruling which generally allowed states to approve the legalisation of online gambling and to create regulatory frameworks to govern the industry.

US political website The Hill reported that Senator Warner had written to Attorney General Sessions on 5 July, saying that gambling websites were “especially fertile platforms for collusion, money laundering and other illicit activities”. Warner then claimed that the provision of iGaming services represents a threat to vulnerable individuals within US society due to its “potentially predatory nature”.

Earlier this year Attorney General Sessions said that he would review the 2011 DOJ memo, but he has since excused himself from any ruling regarding online gambling in what many media outlets are calling a conflict of interest over his links to anti-online gambling groups.

Many figures in the casino industry including casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, have expressed their opposition to the legalisation and regulation of iGaming in the US, making repeated attempts to pass legislation which would restore the overarching authority of the Wire Act and close the iGaming loopholes.

However, these attempts have proved unsuccessful, largely due to the significant and positive financial effects that iGaming has provided to those states which have already done so.

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