Members of Congress Propose Online Gaming Ban - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Members of Congress Propose Online Gaming Ban

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In Money Watch, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have introduced new bill in Washington aimed at banning online gambling. The measure would override a decision made by Attorney General Eric Holder back in 2011, which nullified a ban on all forms of online gambling.

 We took a closer look at who is in favor and who is against the proposed legislation. On Wednesday Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Congressman Jason Chaffetz introduced new legislation to restore the Federal Wire Act of 1961, and ban online gambling. Graham argues cracking down on online gambling is a moral imperative. "I think what we're trying to do is create order out of chaos, and from my point of view this is an easy decision," said Graham.

Local business owners say if online gambling is increased, that may impact how many visitors come here to the casinos. "I think we want to preserve our brick and mortar for the benefit of the community and for the employee, citizens of the community and for the developers of brick and mortar casinos," said President & CEO, Carlton Geer, of John Ascguaga's Nugget Casino. "We want to promote capitalism, we want to preserve the rights of people to do business so the answer is a balance there somewhere, I just don't know where exactly that balance is," said Geer.

A bi-partisan group of more than a dozen lawmakers in congress support the effort to ban online gambling. California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein is among them. She says online gambling can hurt the underage while aiding criminals. In a statement she said "Many online gambling sites fail to screen for underage gamblers, do nothing to prevent money laundering and offer no recourse for fraud or other criminal acts. For most Americans, including children, gambling sites are only a few clicks away, and I believe congress has a responsibility to prevent abuses from occurring." 

Under a law passed last year legalizing online gaming in Nevada, sites must verify the age of all players and have procedures in place to detect and prevent criminal activity.

In a statement on Thursday, Governor Sandoval said the decision on whether online gambling is legal should be left up to each state, saying "Gaming regulation is the responsibility of state government.  Nevada has performed this function for decades and maintains an experienced, sophisticated and respected regulatory structure. This legislation would infringe upon states' rights and attempt to undermine existing state law." 

We reached out to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office for comment on the legislation but have so far not heard back yet.

The bill is still in the beginning stages. We will be sure to follow it and let you know of any developments as they move forward.

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