Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) hasn’t given up on his push to restrict online gambling at the Federal level. In March, the House Judiciary subcommittee again met to discuss the “Restoration of America’s Wire Act,” Chaffetz’s signature legislation designed to restrict states in their ability to offer Internet gaming options. The bill, which will be sponsored by [mc_name name=’Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’G000359′ ] (R-S.C.) in the Senate, would ban online gaming in at least three states that have already begun rolling out online gaming options to residents.
The future of federal legislation that would ban online gambling in New Jersey and the two other states that allow it may depend on whether proponents can assure lawmakers that technology can keep out-of-state bettors and children away from the virtual casinos.
That was a concern of legislators and witnesses at a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing today on a bill to reverse a 2011 Justice Department ruling that gave states the right to offer Internet gambling to their residents. Online gambling is allowed in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware.
The legislation was introduced by U.S. [mc_name name=’Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’C001076′ ] (R-Utah), who presided over today’s hearing. U.S. [mc_name name=’Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’G000359′ ] (R-S.C.) will sponsor the bill in his chamber, spokesman Kevin Bishop said.
Chaffetz maintains that the Restoration of America’s Wire Act is an example of “states’ rights” legislation, in that it allows states that want to control their residents’ ability to engage in online gaming to do so. That’s silliness. The measure would ban online gaming at the Federal level, preventing states that want to offer online gaming from doing so. So it is “states’ rights” – but only for those states who agree with Chaffetz that gaming is an undesirable activity.
Republican Bob Goodlatte, typically a reliable conservative, and others on the Committee need to balance their personal disapproval of gaming with the Constitutional principle of states’ rights. They should be comforted by presentations from gaming industry specialists demonstrating extensive security measures that have worked to keep New Jersey’s gaming program safe from cross-border participants. Curiously, at the March hearing, liberal Rep. John Conyers seemed more faithful to the states’ rights cause than many of the Republicans.
It’s an odd day when John Conyers, a Democrat who has championed governmental involvement at every turn in his decades-long career, has to teach Republicans how states’ rights really work.