It has been discovered that Senator Lindsey Graham has managed to write a gambling ban into the lengthy Appropriations Bill in the Senate Appropriations Committee. The anti-gambling language in the bill would like to see to the end of internet gambling across the USA; the language could effectively ban internet-based gambling in all 50 states.
This act by Senator Graham has drawn a lot of attention to his friendship with Las Vegas casino magnate, Sheldon Adelson; Graham, who failed in his attempt to run for president this year, has had the backing of Sheldon in his campaign.
Sheldon Adelson is a billionaire businessman, chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which owns several well renowned casino-hotels all over the world. Adelson, who also owns a couple of global publication and has always been an avid supporter of the Republican Party has donated significant amounts of money over the years to gain influence within the party. Being the 18th richest man in the world, Adelson’s name is always dotted around the media, especially when it comes to campaigns against rival forms of gambling. It comes as no surprise that Adelson was in support of Graham’s anti-gambling clause, Adelson owns and operates many luxury casinos around the world and therefore, online gambling would be considered direct competition to his business.
Sneaky Stunts in Congress
It seems like Senator Graham is making a habit of snaking policies that he is in favour of into other longer bills, hoping to get them passes alongside more important issues. Graham pulled a similar stunt earlier this year, when the RAWA language was inserted into the huge spending bill in the Senate and Chris Gallegos, a spokesperson for the Senate Appropriation Committee, confirmed that the RAWA language was placed in the Appropriations Bill as well.
It read, “Internet Gambling — Since 1961, the Wire Act has prohibited nearly all forms of gambling over interstate wires, including the Internet. However, beginning in 2011, certain states began to permit Internet gambling. The Committee notes that the Wire Act did not change in 2011. The Committee also notes that the Supreme Court of the United States has stated that ‘criminal laws are for courts, not for the Government, to construe.”
Who should decide the fate of gambling at the state level?
There seems to be wider support for state level government deciding what is good for the state; the Constitution agrees and the advocates of federalism say that the state level of government should decide whether internet-based gambling should be legal within their jurisdiction or not; this was further reiterated by Representative Mick Mulvaney. He further mentioned that if the federal level government is allowed to regulate or ban state level internet gambling, then they should also have the authority to make decisions on allowing the sales of firearms and ammunition online, which would violate the Second Amendment.
At the hearing arranged to promote RAWA, such arguments were brought up and outlined.
Future of Anti-Gambling Law looks bleak
The Appropriation Bill is headed toward the House Appropriations Committee, chaired by Representative John Culberson. Culberson has the power to remedy the situation; if he removes the anti-gambling language before the bill progresses to the Conference Committee then the anti-gambling clause will not unknowingly be sworn into law with the other clauses in the meeting
Both advocates of federalism and the Tenth Amendment are strongly hoping for that to happen. This will be bad news for Graham and Adelson and their effort to shut down state regulated internet-based gambling, and great news for the limited government.
Cronyism and Corruption
While the practice of Cronyism amongst powerful men have always been around, the efforts on Graham’s part to sneak the anti-gambling law has drawn some less than favourable reviews. The fact that the a bill with such strong grass-roots opposition from citizen groups and little support on Capitol has managed to find its way into the Appropriations Bill, highlights the level of corruption in the mix.