Nevada Congresswoman Asks Pence to Consider Online Gaming Facts, Not Fiction

Posted on: December 7, 2016, 02:00h. 

Last updated on: December 7, 2016, 12:42h.

Nevada Congresswoman Dina Titus online gaming
Nevada Congresswoman Dina Titus is asking President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence to do their due diligence before taking a stance on internet gambling. (Image:

Nevada Congresswoman Dina Titus (D) has penned a letter to Vice President-elect Mike Pence asking him to avoid rushing to conclusions or legal judgments when it comes to online gambling.

Titus’ request is in direct response to a document signed by 10 Republican state attorneys general sent to the incoming Trump administration in mid-November.

The attorneys general, which included Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, appealed to Trump and Pence to restore the Wire Act and ban all forms of online gambling upon taking their oaths.

But Titus, like many gaming media outlets, is pointing out the flawed arguments in the AG’s memo.

The US Representative wants to make sure the incoming president and president-elect take their time in considering any executive view on the law.

“I encourage you to carefully study this issue before making any decisions that would infringe on states’ rights or eliminate jobs in the gaming industry,” Titus wrote to Pence. The Las Vegas Review-Journal first obtained Titus’ letter.

Emperor of iGaming

Nevada and Las Vegas is looking for its next powerful voice in Washington, DC, following the impending retirement of Nev. Senator Harry Reid (D). Titus represents Nevada’s 1st congressional district, the same zone Reid represented in the US House before becoming a Senator in 1987.

Losing Reid’s voice in DC is a serious blow for casino executives, and potentially online gaming advocates. Titus appears ready to assume an iGaming leadership role.

In her letter to Pence, she correctly highlights imperfections in the AG letter. The attorneys general claim there are numerous risks with allowing internet casinos to continue operating in the three states where they’re legal.

The letter cites a study of Connecticut youth and gambling that showed nearly 21 percent of adolescent gamblers reported gambling online. The attorneys general also referenced a Columbia University Medical Center that estimated teens make up half of the 16 million people in the US addicted to gambling.

Titus says those claims are irrelevant since Connecticut doesn’t have online gambling, and youths aren’t allowed to gamble online or at brick-and-mortar casinos in the first place.

“Unfortunately, the letter fails to note that online gaming is not legal in Connecticut, so any adolescent online gaming would be done by utilizing offshore or illegal internet sites,” Titus explained. “In Nevada, where there are effective controls in place to verify age and location, there has not been a single reported instance of minors playing poker online.”

Going Nowhere Fast

Las Vegas Sands billionaire Sheldon Adelson probably likes his chances of moving some sort of anti-online gambling bill through Congress now that Trump is the next occupant of the Oval Office. While Republicans have traditionally opposed gambling, the GOP has eased its stance in recent years to take advantage of increased revenue without increasing taxes on citizens.

The AG letter closely mimics sentiments in the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), the bill introduced in recent years by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah). Adelson wants RAWA passed to win his supposed moral crusade to block online gambling.

But to date, the legislation has attracted little interest from anyone other than those benefiting from Adelson’s campaign contributions.