Attorney General Nominee Loretta Lynch Gets Questioned on Internet Gaming

on January 29, 2015
Loretta Lynch Senate online gambling

Loretta Lynch answered questions about Internet gambling during her Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday. (Image: CNN)

Loretta Lynch was grilled by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, answering questions from Senators on a variety of different topics.

Among them, President Obama’s nominee for US Attorney General was asked to comment on her feelings about Internet gambling, a hot topic for many lawmakers in Congress right now.

The questions came from Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), a legislator who has previously sponsored the Restore America’s Wire Act (RAWA), the online gambling ban championed by casino mogul Sheldon Adelson.

Graham’s questioning on the topic wasn’t extensive, but that may have been due largely to the fact that Lynch was admittedly only casually familiar with the topic.

“Would you agree one of the best ways for a terrorist organization or a criminal enterprise to be able to enrich themselves is to have online gaming that would be very hard to regulate?” asked Graham.

“What we have seen with respect to those who provide material support and financing to terrorist organizations is they will use any means to finance those organizations,” Lynch responded.

Lynch Says Her Wire Act Knowledge is Limited

Graham asked about the 2011 Justice Department reinterpretation of the Wire Act, which allowed states to begin regulating online gambling within their own borders.

While Lynch expressed that she was generally familiar with that ruling, she wasn’t prepared to talk about it in specifics.

“I haven’t read that decision, so I am not able to analyze it for you,” Lynch told Graham.

Graham responded to that cordially, and reportedly seemed pleased with Lynch’s responses on the topic in general.

He said that he would send Lynch materials about the concerns law enforcement officials have with online gambling to help her better understand the topic.

AGA Asks for Gambling Questions

The questions come on the heels of a request by the American Gaming Association for Lynch’s views on illegal gambling to be probed by the committee during her confirmation hearing.

Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the AGA, sent a letter to committee Chairman Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and ranking minority member Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) imploring them to bring up the topic during the questioning.

“We urge you to make sure the next attorney general takes seriously the problem of illegal gambling across the country,” Freeman wrote. “We request that you keep in mind the important role of the Department of Justice in cracking down on illegal gambling activities across the country.”

The request comes as Freeman and the AGA are looking for a crackdown on illegal gambling operations across the country.

The organization, which represents the major gaming interests and casino firms in the United States, recently estimated that approximately $3.8 billion would be wagered illegally on the Super Bowl this weekend.

That compares to around $100 million that will be bet legally in Las Vegas.

Lynch currently serves as the US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, a position she has held since 2010. In that role, she has overseen prosecutions in Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.

While she hasn’t had many major gambling cases in that role, her office was involved in the 2012 indictment of 25 people who were accused of operating an illegal sports gambling ring in Queens.