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Utah May Become First State To Ban Online Gambling

In a matter of twenty-four hours, the tables have been turned on the Internet gambling debate in the US. For years, it was the pro-online gambling regulation lawmakers that have been trying to adopt legislation to regulate the industry. Now, after a Department of Justice opinion, it is the anti-gaming lawmakers who must create bills to keep online gambling out of their states.

The Justice Department issued an opinion back in September that was released on Monday. The thirteen page opinion stated that the only betting prohibited by the 1961 Wire Act was sports betting. That opened the door for online casinos in the US, allowing games such as poker, blackjack, roulette, and craps to come to the forefront of gamblers' computers.

The opinion basically overturned years of assumptions regarding the Wire Act, and put anti-gaming lawmakers on their heels. Suddenly, the pending legality of online casinos had these legislators scrambling to create bills to keep online gambling prohibition alive.

Utah Representative Stephen Sandstrom came out swinging on Tuesday, proposing a bill that would prohibit online gambling in Utah. The bill is an amendment to an anti-gaming bill Sandstrom pushed through the Legislature back in 2007, that stated that Indian casinos would be prohibited in Utah. Many tribe's have used a federal law to open casinos in various states, and Sandstrom wanted to ensure that no Indian casinos would be opened in his state. That bill passed, and Sandstrom believes his new amendment will pass as well.

"We want to keep Utah free from the negative impacts of legalized gambling," said the Utah representative. "Without courageous leadership to block Internet gambling, Utah could ponce again be forced to allow Indian casinos."

Sandstrom then went on the attack, claiming that the Department of Justice's opinion was nothing more than a money grab. The online gambling industry is considered one of the fastest growing industries in the world, with well over $30 billion dollars annually.

"The US Department of Justice's conveniently issued legal opinion is a desperate attempt to try and fix today's recessive economy. It's clear that President Obama's fiscal policies have been a complete failure. This latest move by the DoJ will only serve to harm all Americans economically and socially in the long run."

The last statement provided by Sandstrom exhibits the strong debate that has been taking place between pro and anti-online gambling lawmakers. For decades, Liberal lawmakers have been attempting to end the government's infringement on American citizens by prohibiting online gambling. Democratic leaders such as Rep. Barney Frank have been appalled that the government has had a say in preventing individual freedoms. Sandstrom takes a different view, claiming that giving people freedom to gamble online will make the government stronger.

"This move by the DoJ is just more Obama Administration showboating and will only serve to expand federal government."

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