Politics

Titus Asks Justice Department to Preserve Online Gambling

Obama administration ruled in 2011 that online gambling was not illegal in states that allow it

Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., sent a letter to the Department of Justice urging it not to reverse a legal ruling by the Obama Administration allowing for online gambling. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Nevada Rep. Dina Titus is asking the Justice Department to keep online gambling legal.

In a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Titus asked him not to reverse a 2011 ruling by the Obama administration that online gambling within states did not violate the Wire Act, which outlaws illegal gambling, The Associated Press reported.

Titus’ district includes Las Vegas, where a Titus aide said multiple gambling companies are worried the Justice Department might reverse the ruling despite no indications the Trump administration is considering such a move.

“In Las Vegas, we have seen that a regulated market is always better than an illegal one,” Titus wrote in her letter to Rosenstein. “Internet gambling will not go away with a reversal of Wire Act guidance; it will merely push more consumers into black markets.”

The Justice Department did not respond to a request for comment from the AP.

Trump, who used to own a casino in Atlantic City, said he has friends on both sides of the issue. Republican mega donor and Trump ally Sheldon Adelson, who owns casinos in Las Vegas, is opposed to online gambling.

In November, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina asked Congress to determine online gambling’s legality.

In January, members of New Jersey’s congressional delegation from both parties asked the Justice Department to continue to operate under the 2011 ruling.

Internet gambling helped Atlantic City’s seven casinos recover from a three-year period in which five of the city's 12 casinos closed, the AP reported.

In addition to Nevada and New Jersey, online gambling is also legal in Delaware and Pennsylvania.

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