Senators’ Letter to Holder Shows Doubts about DOJ Gambling Stance

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On July 14, 2011, Sen. Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking the Department of Justice to clarify its position regarding enforcement of online gambling laws.

The tone of the letter suggests that Sen. Reid, who has been a supporter of efforts to legalize online poker, and Sen. Kyl, an opponent of legalization who helped pass the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006, have doubts about the consistency and logic of the federal government’s view on legalized online poker. The UIGEA is the law that led to the indictments of several online poker sites earlier this year.

The letter notes, “These indictments came after many years in which the entities [that were indicted] operated Internet poker websites to Americans in an open and notorious way with apparently no repercussions from law enforcement.” The letter went on to say, “This lack of activity by law enforcement led to a significant and growing perception that operating Internet poker and other Internet gambling did not violate U.S. laws, or at least that the Department of Justice thought that the case was uncertain enough that it choose not to pursue enforcement actions.”

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