Voters in four states and Washington, D.C. have approved measures legalizing marijuana for individuals over 21, and four states — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington — approved taking marijuana production and sales off the criminal market and regulating and taxing them. Additionally, 25 States have now legalized marijuana for medical use within those States.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is now being vetted as a possible vice presidential pick for presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, according to two ranking Republican officials as reported earlier today by Yahoo News and The Guardian. Additionally, many in the Beltway contend that Gov. Christie would be on the short list for appointment of US Attorney General in a potential Trump Presidential Administration.
During the Republican Presidential Debates, Gov. Chris Christie unequivocally and unambiguously stated that he would use the Federal governments authority via the USDOJ or otherwise to shut down all licensed and/or regulated use of marijuana in any State regardless of lawful medicinal or other legal use within such a State — i.e., Christie vowed not to follow the current DOJ policy concerning marijuana as most recently has been set forth in its 2013 Memo.
Protecting the Principle of Federalism in Marijuana Policies: Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) reintroduced H.R. 1940, the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act with strong bipartisan support. This legislation would modify the federal Controlled Substances Act to protect anyone acting in compliance with state marijuana laws from federal prosecution and resolve the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws, ensuring states can determine their own policies. Others have introduced similar legislation.
It remains imperative that all US States who have already authorized and/or decriminalized marijuana be vigilant in monitoring Federal officials and those who aspire to be. Similarly, States such as California which are now contemplating legal marijuana on the ballot this year, should be fully aware of Federal policy and particularly those who will be in a position to apply it.
Accordingly, should Trump select Christie as his VP (potentially becoming only a heartbeat away from the Presidency), or alternatively, appoint him as his AG in any Trump administration should Trump become POTUS, the result for State regulated, authorized, and legal marijuana could be disastrous specifically to State-authorized marijauna and generally to concepts of federalism as to other fundamental State’s rights.
While some Americans may cross state borders to buy legal marijuana, some parents are traveling thousands of miles–spending months or years away from home–to get their children medical cannabis in the U.S. A small group of people, “international marijuana refugees,” are even immigrating to the U.S. in order to treat disorders associated with seizures for…
“States have traditionally handled regulation of gambling, supported by federal law in situations where an interstate of foreign element might otherwise frustrate the enforcement of state law,” posited the CRS report. “With respect to federal law, DFS may implicate at least four gambling-related statutes.”
Saturday, November 14th 2015 — Ian J. Imrich, Esq.
Experts in geolocation — the technique of determining a computer’s location — say that blocking proxies is one of the first, and most straightforward, steps that websites take to keep users from restricted areas off the sites.
By stating in the “terms of service” that users in some regions are not allowed, while at the same time doing little to enforce the rule, online gambling companies around the world often try to have it both ways, said Feda Mecan, a senior official at Playing Legal, a site based in Germany that is devoted to legal gambling in the United States. “I think they are playing that card, to be honest,” Mr. Mecan said.
Then, according to a poker web forum the NYT has reported, a DraftKings employee appeared to provide public advice on how to circumvent geographic restrictions in the United States.
“It seems absurd that a daily fantasy sports operator with financial means would not implement the best possible technology,” Professor Marc Edelman of Baruch College said.
Whether by mistake or perhaps by design, the failure to timely, properly, and regularly employ readily available Geo-Blocking technology to comply with jurisdictional rules in certain States throughout the nation could prove disastrous in the ongoing investigations and pending legal proceedings against of one of the top two daily fantasy sports companies currently operating within the US.
The fantasy sports gaming business in the US is almost entirely unregulated. That’s just the way the NFL has always wanted it — until now.
After NFL’s lobbying extensively in late 2006 to get a “carve-out” from the hastily passed Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) — a carve out that the US Department of Justice never supported (and if reports coming out are true) — the NFL is now quickly attempting to distance itself from the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) industry. See, e.g., NFL is reviewing the entire fantasy sports situation, reports the New York Post.
Why now? Well, here are just a few possible reasons that might help to explain the NFL’s Fall of 2015 back-tracking:
-Legal challenges to the nationwide sports betting ban in Federal Courts are pending and the NFL remains vehemently opposed to any sort of legalized sports wagering (while the NBA by contrast favors regulated sports betting);
-Two major NFL owners could be forced to sell their huge equity stakes within the DFS industry;
-NFL policy strictly prohibits NFL employees or team owners from participating in or facilitating any form of gambling — yet the same prohibitions do not apply to unregulated DFS skill gaming;
Meanwhile, what have Bob Kraft, Jerry Jones, and one major DFS site operator said about these reports? So far, The Cowboys, Patriots and DraftKings have declined comment. Will await to see how long their silence is deafening…
Why Now? (Especially given the fact that FanDuel is — and has been for some time — a UK-based gaming company that has not ever previously offered its DFS services to customers / markets beyond the US and Canada) Because the US market has become increasingly cloudy on the legal and regulatory front – as simple as that.
While the US market for DFS has not and will not likely be entirely shut down, it is now abundantly clear that it’s going to be a potpourri of State-by-State regulations and with uncertainty as to ring-fenced intra-state gaming activity versus inter-state customer pooling and resulting liquidity via State to State compact, and all with the possibility of Federal Intervention lurking ominously in the background — currently during an election year in the US.
Of course, FanDuel could have made this move years ago. The same could be said for its chief competitor Draft Kings. But, as is the case in many an eCommerce industry (or brick and mortar for that matter), the threat of regulatory activity and possibility of legal enforcement often hastens the moves of companies who have yet to diversify, divest, and divulge.
Strategic business maneuvering is more art than science. Here the creativity, while somewhat tardy, is still artistic.
Changing Tack? A shift in Capitol Hill Internet gambling politics may be in the offing @CKrafik reported earlier today.
Sources told @GamblingCompliance a proposal that would (i) mandate a federal study on Internet gambling and (ii) impose a moratorium on Internet gambling expansion in states that have yet to legalize the activity is being discussed as a possible alternative to the prohibitions set out in S1668 and HR707.
They note that such a proposal would appear to be in line with the recommendations of the Clinton-era National Gambling Impact Study Commission.
It bears noting that a potential US iGaming moratorium on further real money online gaming in all but 3 States which currently have such activity should not be underestimated; to wit, even if New Jersey, Nevada (which is poker-only), and Delaware evolve and become more robust eCommerce markets (a proposition which is doubtful at best) – a moratorium stopping larger States like New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida, Illinois, and other larger States (even California which has to date been quite effective stopping itself with online gaming stakeholder in-fighting), the anticipated impact of new credit card codes as well as the expected entry of Poker Stars into New Jersey would likely be greatly minimized.
Thus, except for a few small States that would not be subject to the new prohibition, the moratorium on further online gaming expansion of any type into those populous US states with huge potential eCommerce markets and commensurate liquidity — particularly for peer to peer online poker activity — would largely accomplish the primary goals of a full-scale Restoration of Wire Act (RAWA) prohibition that is presently controversial and not able to gain critical mass for passage on Capitol Hill.
Could a US federal moratorium on expanded online gaming accomplish most of what a failed RAWA prohibition could not achieve? Stay tuned…!