Response from Senator Harry Reid:
Dear Mr. Mehaffey:
Thank you for contacting me regarding online gaming. I appreciate hearing from you.
As a former gaming regulator, I believe that maintaining the integrity and fairness of the gaming industry – both in brick and mortar casinos and on the Internet – requires strong and effective regulation. Unfortunately, the current state of affairs is the worst possible situation for consumers, regulators, and law enforcement officials. For more than a decade, illegal online websites offering Internet poker and other types of gambling have grown into a multi-billion dollar market. Yet, none of these sites are regulated by responsible U.S. regulators, and none of them have an incentive to comply with basic consumer protections and gambling regulations.
Whether one supports or opposes regulated online gambling, the current U.S. laws on this topic are outdated. The 2011 Department of Justice’s (DOJ) reinterpretation of the Wire Act has opened the door to permitting states to conduct all types of non-sporting, online gambling. Without strong regulations in place to govern this gambling, consumers inevitably will end up being hurt.
On March 26, 2014, Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) introduced the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (S. 2159). This legislation would prohibit online gaming. S. 2159 was referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Should this or related legislation reach the full Senate for consideration, I will remain mindful of your concerns regarding the impact of online gaming on our nation’s vulnerable populations.
Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.
My best wishes to you.
United States Senator