McKinney Outlines Opposition to Online Gambling In Advance of Legislative Hearing

February 1, 2012

Senate leader cites extensive research in an effort to “dispel myths and misinformation spread by proponents of online gambling”

Hartford, CT – State Senate Minority Leader John McKinney (R-Fairfield) today presented Governor Dannel Malloy, Attorney General George Jepsen, legislative leaders and the chairs and ranking members of the Public Safety and Security Committee with a seven page memo and detailed supporting documentation outlining his opposition to legalizing online gambling in the state of Connecticut. The Public Safety and Security Committee will hold a much anticipated legislative hearing on the subject at 10 a.m. Thursday morning.

In his memo, Senator McKinney cited case law and extensive research in discussing the impact of the recent Department of Justice Opinion regarding the application of the federal Wire Act in online gambling activities.

He argues that proponents of online gambling have misinformed the public about the facts of the DOJ opinion to justify their contention that online gambling is a foregone conclusion for the state of Connecticut and the nation. Senator McKinney maintains that Connecticut controls its own destiny with respect to policing, or prohibiting online gambling.

“Because I believe public policy should be based on facts and not hyperbole, and because I believe online gambling poses unique regulatory, social and public health challenges, I think it is important to understand the Opinion and its implications,” Senator McKinney wrote. “We want to dispel all of the myths and misinformation that have been spread by proponents of online gambling,” he said.

Senator McKinney highlighted and defended four main points in his argument:

  1. 1. States retain jurisdiction over gambling activities
  2. 2. Connecticut’s prohibition of online gambling is legally enforceable under both state and federal law
  3. 3. Connecticut’s prohibition of online gambling can be practicably enforced
  4. 4. Limiting online gambling for profit to the Indian tribes would likely be ruled unconstitutional

In addition to opposing the legalization of online gambling, Senator McKinney is calling on state and federal authorities to enforce laws currently on the books as applied to online gambling, just as authorities are doing successfully in New York, Boston, the state of Washington, and elsewhere.

During this legislative session, Senator McKinney will also introduce legislation to increase the criminal penalties for professional gambling and the transmission of gambling information from a class A misdemeanor to a felony.