October 19, 2015

To:

All Attorneys General
Chief Deputies
Executive Assistants

From:

Attorney General Chris Koster, Missouri
Attorney General Alan Wilson, South Carolina

Re:

Sign-On Opportunity - Letter to Congressional Judiciary Committee Leadership
supporting H.R. 707 and S.B. 1668 to clarify the Wire Act to prohibit all forms of
Internet Gambling

Dear Colleagues:
We are endorsing and circulating for sign-on a letter to Congressional Judiciary
Committee Leadership in support of H.R. 707 and S.B. 1668 (“Restoration of America’s Wire
Act”). For years, the federal government interpreted the Wire Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1084 to prohibit
all forms of gambling involving interstate wire transmissions, including transmissions occurring
over the internet. In late 2011, the United States Department of Justice Office of Legal Council
issued a legal opinion concluding the Wire Act only banned sports betting, but not other forms of
internet gambling.
In February 2014, sixteen states submitted a letter to Congress asking to restore U.S.
DOJ’s original interpretation of the Wire Act. Since that time, our states’ most vulnerable
citizenry have suffered the consequences of expanded online gambling. Further, without
enforcement at the federal level, the inherent interstate nature of online gambling has made
enforcement of gambling prohibitions in states particularly difficult and costly.
With the growing interstate gambling activity, the attached letter supports restoring the
Wire Act to prohibit all forms of internet gambling. The letter urges Congress to restore such
prohibition pending further analysis by federal and state law enforcement agencies of the full
impact internet gambling has on our respective charges to protect the citizens of our states.
We ask that, after careful consideration, each of you sign-on to the attached letter and
join us in supporting Congressional clarification that internet gambling is prohibited by the Wire
Act. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Adam Piper of the South Carolina
Attorney General’s Office at (803) 734-3970, apiper@scag.gov, and/or Jim Farnsworth of the
Missouri Attorney General’s Office at (573) 751-8807.

The deadline to sign on to this letter is 1:00 p.m., EDT, Friday, October 30, 2015.
Please email your completed response to Allie McGuire at NAAG either via facsimile to (202)
521-4052 or via email in PDF form to amcguire@naag.org. Thank you for your consideration.
Sincerely,

Chris Koster
Missouri Attorney General

Alan Wilson
South Carolina Attorney General

DRAFT LETTER
October 30, 2015
The Honorable Bob Goodlatte
Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary
United States House of Representatives
2138 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Chuck Grassley
Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
Ranking Member, Committee on the Judiciary
United States House of Representatives
B-351 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Patrick Leahy
Ranking Member, Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Goodlatte, Chairman Grassley, Ranking Member Conyers, and Ranking Member
Leahy:
As the states’ top law enforcement officers, we the undersigned Attorneys General send this
letter to express our unwavering support of H.R. 707 and S.B. 1668 (“Restoration of America’s
Wire Act”) and to request Congress take action to reverse the U.S. Department of Justice’s
(DOJ) interpretation of the Wire Act, 18 U.S.C. Section 1084, as it applies to Internet gambling.
For many years, the federal government consistently interpreted the Wire Act to prohibit all
forms of gambling involving interstate wire transmissions – including transmissions over the
Internet. In late 2011, DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel issued a legal opinion reversing its own
longstanding interpretations.
DOJ’s revised interpretation of the Wire Act opened the door to expansive Internet gambling and
has had significant negative impacts on our states from money laundering to exploitation of
children to helping finance terrorist organizations. Additionally, the expansion of online
gambling has undermined state and local law enforcement efforts to outlaw gambling which is
prohibited in many states. As such, we urge Congress to adopt the Restoration of America’s
Wire Act.
Since DOJ reinterpreted the Wire Act as inapplicable to Internet gambling, Nevada, New Jersey,
and Delaware have passed legislation legalizing various forms of Internet
gambling. Pennsylvania, California, and New York are also considering expanding gambling to
include Internet gambling, with Massachusetts and Connecticut identified by the online gambling
industry as the next targets.
In this same time period, states like South Carolina have had to combat the menace of Internet
sweepstakes operations. We fear that if RAWA is not adopted we will see a return to the wild
west of Internet gambling. This will create tremendous hurdles for law enforcement and have a
negative impact on the general welfare of our states.

As predicted, regulation of online gambling has proven difficult for states. This June, New
Jersey announced it would not prosecute illegal gambling sites that have been operating in the
state since 2013, provided the companies cease business within the next five months. Given the
inherently interstate nature of Internet gambling transactions, we anticipate that it will become
increasingly difficult to effectively regulate such conduct as additional jurisdictions consider
legalizing Internet gambling.
In addition, substantial harms have been documented with the proliferation of online
gambling. The anonymity of the Internet and the ability for youth to access online gambling
sites presents a significant risk to teens. According to the Columbia University Medical Center’s
research, teenagers make up half of the 16 million people in the United States with gambling
addictions and teens succumb to gambling addiction at rates between two and four times the rate
of adults. A study of Connecticut youth and gambling showed that 20.5% of adolescent
gamblers reported gambling online.
Online gambling affects more than our nation’s youth. In 2011, DOJ filed a civil complaint for
money laundering that sought $3 billion being held by the nation’s three largest online gambling
companies. The anonymity of the Internet offers vast opportunity for criminal activity, terrorist
financing, and money laundering through online gaming sites.
In response to the enforcement challenges associated with Internet gambling and the serious
threats posed to the citizens of our states, we ask that Congress adopt the Restoration of
America’s Wire Act and reestablish the decades-long prohibition of Internet gambling under the
Wire Act.
To be sure, we believe Congress may only regulate transactions which are interstate in nature,
consistent with fundamental constitutional principles. Our system of government commands that
intrastate matters, including the regulation of gambling at brick-and-mortar facilities and
intrastate lotteries is clearly vested in the states. However, Internet gambling is inherently
interstate in nature and states are ill-equipped to enforce gambling laws against interstate and
international companies, particularly when age and location verification mechanisms are subject
to compromise and the technological vulnerabilities of the Internet. Accordingly, it is critical
that Congress act now to reinstitute the federal ban on online gaming.
We appreciate your consideration of this request.
Sincerely,

Copy: The Honorable John Boehner, Speaker, United States House of Representatives
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader, United States House of Representatives
The Honorable Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader, United States Senate
The Honorable Harry Reid, Minority Leader, United States Senate

RESPONSE FORM FOR SIGN-ON LETTER TO CONGRESS REGARDING THE WIRE ACT AND
INTERNET GAMBLING:
DEADLINE FOR RESPONSE: 1:00 PM (EDT) FRIDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2015

PLEASE RETURN FORM TO:
Allie McGuire
National Association of Attorneys General
amcguire@naag.org
or
(202) 521-4052 (fax)

o YES, I authorize NAAG to affix my signature to the letter to Congress clarifying the Wire Act to prohibit
all forms of internet gambling.

o NO, I do not authorize NAAG to affix my signature to the letter.
PLEASE PRINT OR TYPE LEGIBLY
__________________________________________________________________________ (name)
Attorney General of ________________________________________________________ (state name)
Contact Name, Phone Number, Email and Fax Number
________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
If you have any substantive questions, please feel free to contact Adam Piper of the South Carolina Attorney
General’s Office at (803) 734-3970, apiper@scag.gov, and/or Jim Farnsworth of the Missouri Attorney General’s
Office at (573) 751-8807.
If you have any questions about your state’s response, please contact Allie McGuire at (202) 326-6008 or
amcguire@naag.org.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.