Marty Derbyshire diane feinstein

The news that a fourth state has legalized online gambling has one US Senator from California renewing the fight to ban online casinos at the federal level.

Pennsylvania passed online gambling legislation in October, following in the footsteps of Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey.

In response, Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have co-written a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein asking the US Department of Justice to change the 2011 legal opinion that allowed these states to move forward.

The 2011 opinion declared the 1961 Federal Wire Act applies only to sports betting. The DOJ released the opinion in response to questions regarding the legality of online lottery sales. Since that time, several states have taken it to mean the Wire Act did not apply to online gambling.

Many states, including California, have considered legalizing various forms of online gambling. Feinstein and Graham opine the legality of online casinos in the US is a question best left up to Congress.

Online casinos sweep the nation

The letter puts forth that other states are lined up to follow Pennsylvania. Their aim is to stop the proliferation of online gambling across the country before it starts. The senators wrote a similar letter three years ago, saying the DOJ’s opinion would soon turn every smartphone, tablet, and personal computer into an all-hours casino.

This latest letter claims the DOJ opinion reversed 50 years of interpreting the Wire Act to prohibit all gambling online. The senators also claim online gambling preys upon children and society’s most vulnerable. However, it contains no hard evidence to back those claims.

Ultimately, Feinstein and Graham appear to be reiterating the arguments made in favor the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA). That bill’s aim was to rewrite the Federal Wire Act to ban online gambling across the country. First introduced in 2014, several drafts of RAWA failed to advance in either congressional chamber.

California online poker legislation

California had been considering an online poker bill during the 2017-18 legislative session.

However, like several bills before it, The Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act failed to reach consensus among the different state and industry players in regards to the suitability of certain operators. Without an agreement in place between California’s many card rooms, tribal casinos, and state lawmakers, the bill will never reach the voting stage.

Marty Derbyshire
Marty Derbyshire - Martin Derbyshire is a veteran of the world of poker and gambling, having worked as a reporter, producer, and editor in the industry for more than a decade. He has traveled the globe interviewing high-profile personalities and contributes to a number of publications, including,, and