Allowing States to Set Gambling Policies

Players watch horse racing at the Race Book at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey, 25 May 2007. The hotel, which opened in 2003 and features 2,000 rooms, touts itself as the first Las Vegas style resort in Atlantic City. Gambling has been legal in …
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Anyone who’s watched five minutes of football this year is well aware that there’s gambling going on. Ads for FanDuel, DraftKings, and other “fantasy sports for cash” sites fill every commercial break.

But even as you’re picking (and wagering on) you weekly fantasy team, some lawmakers want to “protect” you from gambling — by enacting the Restoration of America’s Wire Act.

The proposed law would do nothing about fantasy sites, but would eliminate state regulation of online gambling, thus tossing out several state laws and effectively federalizing not just gambling, but even the sale of state lottery tickets.

“RAWA is an outright assault on federalism,” a coalition led by the Center for Freedom and Prosperity explains in a letter to Bob Goodlatte, the House Judiciary Chair. It will be up to him to decide whether this legislation, proposed in the Senate by presidential contenders Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio, moves forward.

“The legislation tramples on the Tenth Amendment by banning state regulation of online gambling – further chipping away at the balance between state and federal governance,” the letter adds.

As the House selects a new speaker, and Congress in general considers a budget, it would be possible for smaller measures to slip through. But states can decide for themselves whether they’re comfortable allowing gambling inside their borders, or even online. Doing so is easier than picking a fantasy team.

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