Federal Online Poker Ban Meets Opposition from American Lotteries

The North American Association of State & Provincial Lotteries (NASPL) issued a letter to Sen. Lindsey Graham, criticizing his proposal for afederal ban on online poker.

“Our Association believes, that all gaming should be in the control of the individual states, so that they can determine what games are offered, as well as the exact way in which they are delivered to their customers,” writes David Gale, the Executive Director of NASPL. “This right to make decisions related to gaming within their borders, has always been with the states. Having in mind that lottery products are sold in a competing market, it is of vital importance that we continue designing and offering secure games that people would want to play so that lottery states can still fund much-needed services and/or programs for which lottery revenues have been earmarked.”

Graham and Rep. Jason Chaffetz introduced to the Senate and the House of Representatives respectively, the Restoration of America’s Wire Act, aiming to force the online gambling debate out of the individual states and placing it in Congress. Chaffetz claimed in a press release, that the Department of Justice reinterpreted the Wire Act in Dec. 2011 “without significant public feedback. These changes in the basis of the act need to go through Congress,” Chaffetz added.

If the Wire Act was restored, and all online gambling was placed outside the law, then large  lotteries which are offered in multiple states, such as Powerball and Mega Millions, wouldn’t be able to accept entries over the internet. State-based lotteries which have online distribution would also be strongly affected.

“It is our intent, and also our obligation, to protect the traditional games we have and also to position the industry for further growth in the future,” writes Gale.

NASPL has 52 member lotteries from the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada and the Virgin Islands. They broke records with $83.3 billion in sales last year, and with over $23 billion in transfers to different government-funded programs.

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