RAWA Reintroduced in U.S. Senate

United States SenateThe Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) was reintroduced in the Senate yesterday by South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.

The bill follows a version volleyed back in February by Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz that aims to ban online poker and casino games. RAWA has been a thorn in the side of Internet poker advocates since last year when Graham and Chaffetz initially proposed the measure.

Some of those ipoker advocates are crying foul over Graham’s latest attempt to wipe out online poker in the U.S. The Poker Players Alliance was particularly perturbed by Graham’s actions, coming at a time when his attention should perhaps be focused on the needs of his state, said PPA executive director John Pappas.

Many South Carolina residents are in mourning over the deaths of nine African-American churchgoers who were gunned down by an alleged white supremacist during a Bible study session last week. Congress cut short their duties in order to attend services for the deceased on Friday, with President Barack Obama scheduled to provide the eulogy for one of the slain.

From bad timing to bad policy, it is clear Senator Graham’s priorities are misplaced, Pappas added.

RAWA is backed by Sheldon Adelson, founder of the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling and a huge donor to Republican causes. Graham has his sights set on a run for the presidency in 2016 and is courting the favor of Adelson by pushing RAWA.

The co-sponsors who have lined up to back RAWA include Marco Rubio (R-FL), Kally Ayotte (R-NH) Mike Lee (R-UT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Dan Coats (R-IN), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Rubio, too, is aiming for the highest office in the land next year and being pals with Adelson certainly won’t hurt his ability to finance a presidential campaign.

This latest RAWA measure tossed a bone to state lotteries who have been critical of the legislation and would like a carveout included for online lottery sales. However, the bone is a bit on the small side, as it permits the use of the Internet to process lottery ticket sales, but only at established lottery terminals.

The RAWA saga continues with Graham’s newest proposal, as Adelson continues to make good on his promise to spend whatever it takes to fight the spread of regulated online poker and gambling in the U.S. Players clamoring for legalized Internet poker in their home state are presumably in for a long wait as another year will likely go by without any other states joining Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey in enacting ipoker regulations.

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett