It was one year ago that Sheldon Adelson founded the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) with aims of snuffing out regulation in the U.S.
The billionaire casino mogul’s announcement that he would
spend whatever it takes to achieve his goal caused the pro online poker and gambling crowd to tremble a bit, knowing that there is seemingly no end to the depths of Adelson’s pockets. And indeed, the CSIG has been a force to be reckoned with during the past year.
At the behest of Adelson, the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) was proposed in March. After receiving a great deal of attention at first, the bill that seeks to ban online gambling was sort of pushed aside during an election year, with rumors spreading toward the latter portion of 2014 that RAWA may be debated in December and tacked onto another bill (much the same way that the UIGEA took hold) during the last stand of the current lawmakers.
It has now been learned that 2014 will likely pass without RAWA being pushed through. A number of media outlets as well as Twitter have been exploding with news that House Speaker John Boehner has put the kibosh on the bill. Apparently, Boehner made a personal phone call to the 81-year-old gambling tycoon to inform him of the decision, likely neglecting to say “Happy Anniversary” over the milestone reached by Adelson’s CSIG.
Online poker players and gamblers in the U.S. can collectively exhale and chalk one up to the efforts of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) and the Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection (C4COP), who have been doggedly monitoring the moves made by the CSIG during the last year. Both pro-igaming organizations should be applauded for combating the CSIG, and doing so on budgets that are nowhere near that of Adelson and his billions.
Online gambling activists benefitted from a great deal of support as of late that came from a bunch of organizations who spoke out against a proposed ban on Internet poker and gambling. That support likely played a huge factor in RAWA getting the cold shoulder from legislators.
However, while C4COP and the PPA are high fiving each other at the moment, their work is far from over. Both groups must remain forever diligent, as Adelson has shown no signs of buckling despite the latest setback. His promise to throw whatever funds needed at wiping out regulated online poker and gambling is likely still in force.
The CSIG has made an impact in its first year of operation. No new states launched regulated online poker and gambling sites in 2014 after three did so in 2013. But 2015 will likely see one or two more states take the plunge, and odds are good that Adelson and his CSIG will be there to object every step of the way.