Is Jeff Sessions Ready to Ban Internet Gambling by DOJ Fiat? discusses Jeff Sessions’ comments on an online gambling ban at his confirmation hearing. 

There is nothing at all “shocking” about that position, which was endorsed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in a 2002 ruling that rejected Wire Act charges against the operators of websites offering casino-style games. The 5th Circuit matter-of-factly observed that “the Wire Act does not prohibit non-sports internet gambling.” In a letter responding to Sessions’ comments, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and six other organizations note that “the OLC memo was not a ‘reinterpretation’ of the Wire Act’s intent; it merely restored the law to its original meaning.”

It is not clear on what grounds Sessions “criticized” and “oppose[d]” the DOJ memo, or even that he did so. A search of his office’s website turns up zero references to the Wire Act, and a Nexis search of news stories and transcripts since December 2011, when the memo was posted, finds no comments about it by Sessions.

Supporters of Graham’s bill claim it would protect the prerogatives of states that refuse to let their residents play games for money, when in fact it would blatantly violate federalist principles by overriding the decisions of states that choose to legalize internet gambling. CEI warns that reading the Wire Act the way Graham prefers “would severely injure one of our nation’s founding principles: the idea that the federal government’s power should be limited and states should be free to regulate intrastate commerce as they see fit.” It urges Sessions to defend the 10th Amendment by “rejecting cronyist calls from casino interests to create a national gambling ban.”

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