RAWA Hearing Moves Bill Along Despite Rhetoric, Biased Witnesses

Sheldon Adelson
Sheldon Adelson

The anti-online gambling bill known as Restoring America’s Wire Act went before committee yesterday with many supporters calling on congress to ban online gambling altogether.

RAWA has been officially endorsed by Las Vegas Sands Corporation chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson who’s been on a warpath when it comes to online gambling for the last two years.

The hearing featured an emphatic speech by John Warren Kindt, a professor at the University of Illinois School of Law, who said that internet gambling law was “impossible” to enforce and also asked for politicians to close the fantasy sports loophole as well.

He also quoted lines from Adelson’s campaigns against online gambling.

“Click your phone, lose your home,” he rhymed. “Click your mouse, lose your house.”

Poker Players Alliance Calls Bill “Unconstitutional”

John Pappas
John Pappas, executive director of the PPA.

The architect of the bill, representative Jason Chaffetz, was somewhat contradictory when he spoke.

"I believe it's a states' rights bill…” he said.

“I think we have the right to protect ourselves within our borders… I do believe that going back to December 23, 2011, the Wire Act had an interpretation for 50 years. If there's going to be an alteration, it should go through the Congressional process."

Finally the only witness for online gambling was Perry Aftab who said that while there may be problems in other places, legal online gaming in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware represented a massive improvement.

Meanwhile the Poker Players Alliance went on the offensive calling the bill unconstitutional.

"Never in the history of US internet gaming legislation has Congress ever considered overriding states' rights to regulate online gambling within their own borders and yet Mr. Adelson's bill would do just that,” said PPA executive director John Pappas.

“If an unelected billionaire is granted the power to rewrite history by imposing a federal prohibition, the future is bleak for every American who values their internet freedom."

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