This Week in Congress: Hearing on Ill-Advised Nationwide Online Gaming Ban Proposal
Gaming is an issue traditionally governed at the state level, and rightfully so. Under our federalist system, such questions are best resolved according to what the citizens of individual states – our “laboratories of democracy” – prefer. What fits the citizens of Nevada may differ from what fits the citizens of New Hampshire, and vice-versa.
Unfortunately, some in Congress who typically demonstrate better political and policy judgment hope to impose a blanket, nationwide, one-size-fits-all prohibition of online gaming upon all 50 states. The proposed bill failed in the last Congress, but this week on Capitol Hill its ill-advised reincarnation will be the focus of a Congressional hearing. Nothing has changed over the past year to suddenly justify a bill that we opposed in its first iteration:
The so-called Restoration of America’s Wire Act (H.R. 4301 in the House and S. 2159 in the Senate), which wouldn’t ‘restore’ the Wire Act to its original meaning but rather significantly expand its reach contrary to the Fifth Circuit and Justice Department rulings, aims to impose a de facto prohibition on online gaming in all 50 states and thereby increase federal regulatory power. Proponents claim that the new bill would protect children and problem gamers, but the more realistic consequence would be shutting down existing law-abiding companies and driving commerce toward criminal sites and unaccountable overseas entities less interested in restricting minors or problem gamers.
The better option is to maintain existing law, which rewards law-abiding domestic companies and ensures greater safety and security. And as noted above, the proposed legislation would grossly violate the concepts of state sovereignty, free-market principles and individual consumer freedom. The last thing we need right now is even more federal regulation of states and legal commerce, particularly within the flourishing Internet sector.”
Proponents have even attempted to rig the hearing to exclude opposition voices. But regardless of parliamentary shenanigans, the bottom line is that this is an ill-advised bill. Conservatives and libertarians should strongly oppose this intrusion into individual states’ rights and consumer freedom, and contact their elected representatives to make their preference clear.