Donald Trump has appointed Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions as his Attorney General.
While he's yet to be confirmed, there's little reason at this point to believe that will not happen. As such, it's time to look at what this appointment might mean for online poker regulation in the United States and California for the immediate future.
Sessions Has Opposed Online Gambling in Past
Looking at his track record, the Alabama Senator has a history of supporting anti-gambling legislation dating back to the mid to late 1990's. Back in 1997 he announced he would co-sponsor the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act of 1997.
While the industry was nothing like it is today, he claimed that he was "troubled by how easy it is for children to pick-up their parent's credit cards and gambling on the internet." His support of the bill was a preemptive measure to combat the then-rapidly growing online gambling industry.
In 1998 he voted in favor of an amendment on an appropriations bill that would have banned iGaming in the U.S. Since that time he has been noticeably quiet when it comes to online gambling matters.
He has failed to support any RAWA measures to this point and hasn't made any type of public statement on the matter since 2011. Even then, he didn't show support for online gambling but rather an "understanding" of his constituents' concerns on the matter.
Sessions Will Be Opposed to Gambling But May Not Act
It is easy to assume that as a staunch conservative Sessions will likely oppose online gambling expansion. With that said, he may take a neutral position on any type of national ban.
The reason we say this is that Sessions is a firm believer in states' rights. It has been widely debated that RAWA and any type of iGambling ban would impede these rights and Sessions would likely oppose such a measure.
Looking at this point closer, keep in mind that any type of ban would threaten the states that have already expanded online gambling in one form or another. Such a ban would likely result in lawsuits and a probably challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court.
At this point it's hard to see Sessions taking a position against online gambling in the U.S. unless he starts to receive significant pressure from the President. At that point it will be interesting to see whether Sessions sticks with his beliefs or tows the party line.