Thank you Senator Ayotte for tackling online gambling

DOJ ruling would have serious consequences in N.H.

About two years ago, Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice handed down a ruling that overturned longstanding precedent to legalize online gaming. For more than 50 years, the Wire Act was interpreted by Justice Departments in Republican and Democratic administrations to prohibit gambling over wires, which came to include the Internet.

Now, thanks to the DOJ’s unilateral decision to permit online gaming, the Granite State will be faced with some serious consequences.

Beyond just selling state lottery tickets online, the expansion of online gambling made permissible by the DOJ decision would allow Governor Hassan to essentially create an online casino in place of the one high-end casino she pushed for this past legislative cycle. Even though her efforts failed at the hands of the Legislature, she now would have unfettered power to expand online gaming without the consent of the Legislature.

Time and time again, U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte has done right by Granite Staters and fought against the expansion of online gaming. The risk of increased crime levels and economic consequences that come with brick-and-mortar casinos is well established, and Senator Ayotte and her colleagues highlight similar risks associated with online gambling, particularly given the current lack of oversight.

This July, in a statement before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance, Senator Ayotte said, “Shame on us if we don’t get something done on this because, when I think about the possibility for money laundering, terrorism, drug trafficking and the potential for children to get access to use the Internet as well as people to add to the addiction issue, I hope this is something that we move on very quickly.”

It is important to recognize the impact that unregulated expansion of online gaming would have here in the Granite State. The many dangers that are associated with expansion of actual casinos ring true when it comes to the proliferation of online casino gaming.

Many of our most vulnerable citizens would have unregulated access to games, slots and online lottery, thus leading to higher addiction rates and abuse issues.

After listening to months and months of gaming experts come before the Legislature this past session, it was very apparent that there are many social risks and impacts that come with the expansion of gaming. New Hampshire spoke loud and clear in May when they told the governor they did not want a casino here in the Granite State. Thank you Senator Ayotte for being our voice in Washington.

Ashley Pratte is executive director of Cornerstone-Action and Cornerstone Policy Research.

Categories: Opinion