NFL and Justice Department associations may indicate little sympathy for online gambling

The incoming Obama Administration's announcement that Eric Holder is to be appointed Attorney General of the United States may moderate expectations that the new president might take a more liberated approach to Internet gambling.

Although well qualified professionally for the post, Holder's past associations with lobbyists for the powerful and vehemently anti-online gambling National Football League, and service in a Department of Justice which has proved to be strongly opposed to Internet gambling, are not encouraging indicators.

Holder was Deputy Attorney General to Janet Reno, and moved on from that post to join Washington lobbyist law firm Covington and Burling, which was recently in the news when it was revealed that its former lobbyist, William Wichterman, had been a key driver in pushing the UIGEA regulations through in a 'midnight drop' operation (see previous InfoPowa reports). Wichterman had worked on the NFL account for the company during his employment there, raising questions of a conflict of interest which were brushed aside by the Bush White House.

Like Wichterman, the National Football League was one of the accounts on which Holder worked during his tenure at Covington and Burling.

Observers have also pointed to Holder's Department of Justice involvement in the past, suggesting that this is not a good harbinger for the future, given the Department's entrenched and at times inequitable policies in online gambling prosecutions and legislative views.

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