Sheldon Adelson Pushes Revised Wire Act to Stop Online Poker

Sheldon Adelson and the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling are at it again! This time, Adelson and his cronies have drafted a revised version of the Wire Act that would put a halt to legalized online gaming in the United States.

The original Federal Wire Act of 1961 prohibits individuals and businesses from using a “wire communication facility for the transmission in interstate or foreign commerce of bets or wagers.” The US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals have since ruled that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting and not online poker and casino games.

Adelson seeks to change this by including all types of online gaming in the Wire Act. The two main changes that the Las Vegas Sands chairman wants to make to the act include the following:

(1) the term “wire communication” includes the Internet, and any activity which involves the use, at least in part, of the Internet.

(2) the term “any sporting event or contest” includes games in part or predominantly subject to chance, including games in which players compete against each other, and not against any person, entity, or fellow player hosting the game, the outcome of which, over any significant interval, is predominantly determined by the skill of the players, and the purchase of a chance or opportunity to win a lottery or other prize (which opportunity to win is predominantly subject to chance).

Adelson’s previous arguments and surveys regarding online poker have been laughable at best. Every silly doomsday scenario that he’s presented has been met with a logical and factual counterpoint. For instance, Adelson’s camp have repeatedly pushed the idea that it’s too easy for kids to log on and play internet poker. But Poker Players Alliance president John Pappas was quick to point out that there hasn’t been one reported incident of an underage player since Nevada began offering online poker 8 months ago.

However, the casino magnate should be taken a little more seriously this time. As illogical as some of his previous arguments seem, it’s worth mentioning that he does have one thing on his side: money. As the 11th richest man in the world, Adelson has the kind of funds to lobby state and federal government leaders in an effort to get his way. Luckily, though, there are some powerful casino groups that are in favor of legalized online poker in the US, including Caesars Entertainment.