Support the Movement
STATES ACT TO PROTECT LOTTERY PLAYERS
Over the past year, a movement has been building across the country to ensure lottery players have the freedom to purchase tickets over the Internet. State officials have become increasingly concerned that the United States Congress is attempting to usurp the power of individual states with convoluted, burdensome regulatory schemes designed to help Nevada casino operators, to the detriment of lottery players. The leader of this federal power grab is U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from Nevada. Fortunately, the states are not taking this lying down. Nevertheless, we need your voice to continue the fight.
NCSL Supports States Rights on Internet Gaming
Dear Speaker Boehner, Representative Pelosi, Senator Reid and Senator McConnell:
The recent ruling by the Department of Justice (DOJ) clarifying the scope of the Federal Wire Act of 1961 has provided states with the authority to determine if they want to legalize intra-state online gambling. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) believes the federal government should respect the DOJ ruling and would oppose any efforts by Congress to preempt state authority over Internet gaming.
One of the longstanding principles of NCSL is to oppose unwarranted federal preemption of state authority, thereby providing state legislatures the flexibility they need to be innovative and responsive to the unique needs of the residents in their state. As this ruling affords each state the option of deciding whether or not to allow Internet gambling for its residents, we ask Congress to respect the sovereignty of states and to not consider any legislation that would overturn the DOJ’s ruling or to consider any legislation that would
regulate gambling at the federal level. States have long been able to choose whether or not other forms of gambling should be legal and have been very successful in its regulation. We also ask that the federal government respect the rights of states that choose to prohibit Internet gaming.
We respectfully request the state legislative perspective be considered as Congress examines this issue. If you have any questions regarding the concerns of state legislatures or would like to discuss the issue further, please do not hesitate to contact James Ward (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202-624-8686) or Jeff Hurley(email@example.com; 202-624-7753) in NCSL’s Washington, D.C. office.
View the original letter here.
Letters of Support – Governors Speak Out
As the battle to protect the rights of states to sell lottery tickets heats up in Congress, governors from around the nation have weighed in on this issue. Click on the links below to read their letters.
In 2011, lawmakers in the State of California passed a resolution telling the federal government they wanted to protect their state’s right to offer Internet gaming to residents without interference from the federal government. Senate Joint Resolution 14 observes that “Congress currently has pending before it several bills that would authorize and regulate certain forms of online gaming that could be a disservice to all Californians and place the state at a severe regulatory, competitive and financial disadvantage.” The measure urges the members of California’s congressional delegation to “preserve the right of the State of California to opt out of any federal Internet gambling system and retain the right to operate its own intrastate Internet gambling system.”
To read the entire California Resolution, click here.
New York and Illinois
After the New York and Illinois lotteries asked the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for clarification of the Federal Wire Act of 1961, the DOJ ruled that the legal prohibitions against Internet wagering apply only to sports betting, clearing the way for states to offer all other forms of intrastate online gaming. Both states already have plans in place for Internet lottery sales; in fact, the Illinois Lottery hopes to begin selling lottery tickets online later this year.
On July 1, 2011, the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL) passed a resolution on behalf of its members stating they are “opposed to federal legislation that would encroach on the traditional state prerogative to regulate gaming within each state’s borders.” The NASPL is comprised of 52 active lottery organizations, including almost every state lottery in the United States.
To read the entire NASPL Resolution, click here.