Congressional Hearing on iGaming Ban a No Go

Congressional Hearing on iGaming Ban a No GoOnline poker advocates can breathe a sigh of relief as word has arrived that Congress will not be holding a hearing to discuss a bill aimed at banning igaming.

It was previously feared that a House committee would debate the bill proposed by Senator Lindsey Graham and Congressman Jason Chaffetz in March. That hearing was rumored to be in the works for the lame duck session of Congress before 2014 ends and newly-elected officials take office in January.

However, a tweet from Poker Players Alliance (PPA) Executive Director John Pappas yesterday informed the masses that such a hearing has been pulled. Pappas also advises the pro-online gambling crowd that vigilance regarding other anti-igaming actions that may arise during the lame duck session is required.

The Chaffetz/Graham bill is also referred to as the Restoration of Americas Wire Act (RAWA) in that it seeks to overturn the 2011 DoJ ruling that permitted individual states to pursue online poker and gambling legislation. RAWA is backed by Sheldon Adelson and his Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG).

It must be stressed that the mucked hearing does not signal the end for RAWA. The bill could find its way tacked onto some other legislation much the same way that the UIGEA was attached to the Safe Port Act in 2006.

Adelson has considerable clout within the Republican party and there is no doubt that he will continue plugging for RAWA to get attention while the current House and Senate remains. The billionaire casino mogul and his CSIG have been a thorn in the side of online poker advocates for almost a year now.

As many are likely aware, a ban on online gambling would snuff out a revenue source that many states are currently exploring. The matter certainly needs to be discussed and debated at length by the nation’s lawmakers to make a decision that best represents the citizens of the United States. In theory, that’s how the legislative process is supposed to work, but sometimes does not.

Considering the [geolink href=””]recent shutdown of Ultimate Poker[/geolink] and the revenue struggles of online gaming’s regulated states, it appears that perhaps online poker and gambling advocates such as the PPA and the Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection should renew their push to get a federal bill passed approving igaming. The state-by-state framework currently undertaken is fraught with problems and delays that are magnified by each state legislature that takes a look at legalization.

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett