Lindsey Graham proposes Online Gambling Ban in South Carolina Shooting Aftermath

With Charleston, South Carolina residents still dealing with the aftermath of a church shooting, Senator Lindsey Graham has decided to re-introduce a bill that would ban online gambling on a federal level.

Co-sponsored by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) seeks to overturn a 2011 ruling by the United States Department of Justice, which says that the 1961 Wire Act only applies to sports betting. And it appears that part of the reason why GOP candidates like Graham and Rubio don’t like this ruling is that it came under the Barack Obama administration.

“Now, because of this decision by the Obama Administration, virtually any cell phone or computer in South Carolina could become a video poker machine,” said Graham. “A major rewrite of a long-standing federal law like this should be made by the people’s elected representatives in Congress and signed into law by the president, not done administratively.”

Rubio also takes offense at the Obama administration’s view of how online gambling should be treated.

“Expanded gambling presents many challenges, especially on the Internet where safeguards to protect people from fraud and addiction are harder to enforce,” said Rubio. “In 2011, the Obama-Holder Justice Department completely bypassed Congress and unilaterally decided to re-interpret the law to open the door to a widespread expansion of online gambling. Congress should restore existing prohibitions on Internet gambling before beginning a public debate about next steps.”

If passed, RAWA would not only make online gambling illegal in the 47 U.S. states that don’t offer the activity, but also force Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada to stop offering internet wagering.

There is plenty of opposition to Graham’s proposal outside of these three stats. In fact, Poker Players Alliance (PPA) President John Pappas not only disagrees with the bill, but also the timing that Graham chose to introduce it. Below you can see Pappas’ statement:

“As the eyes of the nation are focused on South Carolina following the recent tragic event, I think I speak for most Americans when I express profound disappointment in Senator Graham for choosing this time to advance a bill for the sole benefit of a billionaire political donor. The Congress made the decision to adjourn early so they could attend services on Friday in Senator Graham’s home state. Unfortunately, Senator Graham has not reset his priorities and picked a very unfortunate time to engage in the Internet gaming debate.”