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Sheldon Adelson Closer To Winning Online Gambling Battle

The Justice Department offered a legal opinion that could further restrict online gambling — a move casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has been seeking, The Washington Post reported.

The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel suggested that it could reverse an Obama-era rule that the Wire Act applied only to sports gambling. The opinion will probably be brought up in court.

Most online gambling is already illegal, to the satisfaction of Adelson, a GOP megadonor who controls Las Vegas Sands Corporation, one of the world’s largest casino empires. But adding the Wire Act to these other laws, like the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, means the Justice Department can bring cases more against online gambling sites.

Former senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas said in a statement Monday that the original version of the Wire Act was “as problematic legally as it was morally.” He spoke on behalf of the Adelson-backed Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling.

According to federal lobbying records, Las Vegas Sands has paid Lincoln’s lobbying firm $210,000 since 2017.

“The change here will have some impact, but it doesn’t mean that large swaths of gambling that were once legal are now illegal and vice versa,” a Justice Department official with knowledge of the matter told the Post.

The official said the opinion was no discussed with Adelson or “any outside parties.”

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at fisher@forward.com, or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

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