Sandoval to Sessions: Don't listen to Sheldon!

Don't ban Internet gaming.

That's the message of a letter signed by Gov. Brian Sandoval this week to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sandoval co-signed the letter in his capacity as vice-chair of the National Governors Association, along with the chairman, Virginia's Terry McAuliffe.

"The nation’s governors are concerned with legislative or administrative actions that would ban online Internet gaming and Internet lottery sales," the missive begins. "The regulation of gaming has historically been addressed by the states. While individual governors have different views about offering gaming—in a variety of forms—within their own states, we agree that decisions at the federal level that affect state regulatory authority should not be made unilaterally without state input."

Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson has crusaded to ban web gaming, and he has congressional allies.

Sandoval, who will become chair of the NGA later this year, made no effort to publicize the letter, which The Nevada Independent obtained elsewhere.

Sandoval's position contrasts with that of Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who last year asked the Trump administration to squash web gaming.  Sandoval did not support the letter Laxalt signed, and said so. Adelson is Laxalt's largest donor.

The full letter:

Dear Attorney General Sessions:

The nation’s governors are concerned with legislative or administrative actions that would ban online Internet gaming and Internet lottery sales.

The regulation of gaming has historically been addressed by the states. While individual governors have different views about offering gaming—in a variety of forms—within their own states, we agree that decisions at the federal level that affect state regulatory authority should not be made unilaterally without state input.  A strong, cooperative relationship between the states and federal government is vital to best serve the interests of all citizens. 

As you review this issue, we encourage you to take note of the current regulatory mechanisms put in place by the states to ensure that consumers and children are protected, and that licensees comply with strict standards of conduct. States are best equipped to regulate and enforce online gaming. A ban drives this activity offshore to unregulated jurisdictions, out of the reach of state and federal law enforcement and with risk to consumers.

The nation’s governors stand ready to discuss this issue with you further.