Adelson’s CSIG Reissues Nonsense in Latest Wire Act Amicus Brief

Sheldon Adelson’s astroturf lobbying entity, the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG), has spurted back to life of sorts amid a recent flurry of activity in the ongoing Wire Act appellate battle between the State of New Hampshire and the US Department of Justice. On December 20, the DOJ filed its latest brief in its appeal that the 2018 First Circuit decision declaring the Wire Act unconstitutional should itself be overruled, and a few days later, CSIG and the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) joined in with another voluminous amicus (“friend of the court”) filing.

Neither the DOJ nor CSIG (and NACS) have offered anything new this time around, instead opting for an expansion of the tired and adjudged incorrect legal arguments that were refuted in earlier rulings. The latest CSIG amicus brief incorporates large chunks of its May 2019 brief verbatim, including many of the specious sound bites favored by Adelson and CSiG officials.

CSIG LogoRegurgitated here are lines a-plenty offered up by CSIG emeriti Jon C. Bruning, a far-right nutcase who notably embarrassed himself with his testimony regarding online gambling before a US House subcommittee in September 2018. Bruning uttered such gems as, “technological advances, and the ease of access to the Internet by children, makes the challenges imposed on states where
Internet gambling is illegal even greater today,” and “states simply do not have the legal authority or the resources to protect our citizens, including children” from illegal online casinos. Those quotes and more return again in the latest filing, courtesy of CSIG.

Yet all this was a gargantuan red herring in 2018, and it remains exactly that today. No US state offering regulated online gambling allows participation from states where online gambling has yet to be legalized. “Illegal online casinos” could refer to offshore sites, but one of the benefits that regulated States-based sites will bring is to make those unlicensed sites harder to succeed profitably.

CSIG’s legal game plan remains the same: to conflate unregulated offshore online gambling with the legal and regulated flavor, available in select US states, that Adelson so desperately wants to stop. Knowing this truth yet still pushing a false narrative makes one a liar, so Bruning, CSIG, Adelson and others can be called that without fear of being inaccurate.

As for NACS, the group representing the US’s convenience stores, its participation is every bit as two-faced and self-serving. NACS want to block online lottery sales solely to protect its members’ income stream of selling such lottery tickets in their stores. Despite joining in CSIG’s “evils of online gambling” claims, it’s all a crock of hypocritical shit. NACS and its members are in this case for the money, nothing else.

The Wire Act appeal marches on, regardless. Still in the briefs-and-counterbriefs stage, the eventual next step will be a day in court for oral arguments. More time will pass before the First Circuit Court of Appeals rules, meaning that it won’t happen until late in 2020, if not 2021. And then, almost certainly, the matter will be submitted to the US Supreme Court, which will have the last say on the matter.


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