U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) today introduced their bipartisan legislation, Restoration of America's Wire Act, which restores the long-standing interpretation of the Wire Act and reverses the Department of Justice's abrupt December 2011 decision to expand online gaming.
"This is yet another example of the Holder Justice Department and Obama Administration ignoring the law," said Graham, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "In 1999, South Carolina outlawed video poker and removed over 33,000 video poker machines from within its borders. Now, because of the Obama Administration's decision, virtually any cell phone or computer can again become a video poker machine. It's simply not right."
"The DOJ opened the door for massive change in policy without significant public input. These fundamental changes need to go through Congress. By restoring the original interpretation of the Wire Act, we are putting the genie back in the bottle and allowing for an open debate to take place," said Chaffetz.
On February 4th of this year, Attorneys General from 16 states and territories wrote to Congress asking, "that Congress restore the decades-long interpretation of the Wire Act to allow Congress and the states to more fully consider the public policy ramifications of the DOJ's reinterpretation of the Wire Act and to give federal and state law enforcement agencies time to fully assess and report on the implications Internet gambling has on our respective charges to protect the citizens of our states."
Earlier this week the Governors of Texas and South Carolina also wrote to Congress expressing concerns about the Department of Justice's decision.
Texas Governor Rick Perry wrote, "When gambling occurs in the virtual world, the ability of states to determine whether the activity should be available to its citizens and under what conditions - and to control the activity accordingly - is left subject to the vagaries of the technological marketplace. This seriously compromises the ability of states to control gambling within their borders."
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said, "Allowing Internet gaming to invade the homes of every American family, and to be piped into our dens, living rooms, workplaces, and even our kids' bedrooms and dorm rooms, is a major decision. We must carefully examine the short and long-term social and economic consequences before Internet gambling spreads."
The legislation is cosponsored in the Senate by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-California), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire). The legislation is cosponsored in the House of Representatives by Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (D - Hawaii), Jim Matheson (D - Utah), Lamar Smith (R - Texas), Jim Jordan (R - Ohio), Trent Franks (R - Arizona), George Holding (R - North Carolina), Frank Wolf (R - Virginia), James Lankford (R - Oklahoma), and Emanuel Cleaver (D - Missouri).