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Justice Department issues new opinion that could further restrict online gambling

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The Justice Department late Monday issued a legal opinion that could further restrict online gambling even as some states have been moving to embrace it — a restriction long sought by GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson, who controls one of the world’s largest casino empires.


The opinion from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which will probably be tested in the courts, reversed an Obama-era opinion that declared that the Wire Act applied only to sports gambling.


Curtailing such online gambling ventures has been a major goal of Adelson, who with his allies has argued that Web-based gambling would hurt children, invite criminal activity and produce little actual revenue for states.


Adelson and his wife, Miriam, gave $113 million to support Republicans in the 2016 cycle, including $20 million to back President Trump’s campaign.


Former senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), speaking on behalf of the Adelson-backed Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, praised the new Justice Department opinion, saying in a statement Monday night that the department’s previous interpretation of the law was “as problematic legally as it was morally.”




Adelson’s company, Las Vegas Sands, has paid Lincoln’s lobbying firm, the Lincoln Policy Group, $210,000 since 2017, according to federal lobbying records.




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