Sandoval and Burnett Attack Laxalt over RAWA Support

RAWANevada´s Governor and top gaming regulator have attacked the Attorney General for saying he would sign a letter supporting the Restoration of Americas Wire Act.

Governor Brian Sandoval and Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board A. G. Burnett have reacted angrily to Adam Laxalt disclosing that he was intending to sign a letter being [geolink href=””]circulated between Attorney Generals[/geolink] in support of the Restoration of Americas Wire Act (RAWA).

The letter was sent to all fifty of the country´s Attorney Generals by Chris Koster and Alan Wilson – respectively the Attorney Generals for Missouri and South Carolina – and called for a nationwide ban on Internet gambling while clarification of the language of the Wire Act was sought.

Laxalt Speaks Out on Ralston Live

Laxalt made the comments towards the end of last night´s “Ralston Live” show, and justified them by saying that the Wire Act was put in place by Congress, and that the US Department of Justice´s opinion that it only applied to sports betting was made without properly consulting stakeholders in the casino industry or law enforcement agencies.

The opinion, Laxalt claimed, changed the landscape for online gambling and that action was needed to restore the status quo so that Congress could decide on whether it wanted to formally change the rules. He commented that it was important to know where the money for online gambling was coming from and where it was going, and for online gambling to be properly policed.

Then there is the Adelson Connection

No sooner had the words left Adam Laxalt´s mouth than Jon Ralston was asking the Attorney General about the Sheldon Adelson connection. Adelson was a major contributor to Laxalt´s election campaign and the Attorney general´s sister is a lobbyist for j3 Strategies – whose clients include the Las Vegas Sands and the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling.

Laxalt admitted that he had been bankrolled by Sheldon Adelson, but said that he had not spoken with the Las Vegas Sands owner about the issue. Laxalt said that it was not just Sheldon Adelson who was against the current interpretation of the Wire Act, but also Steve Wynn, the Stations Casino and Nevada Senators Heller and Reid.

Laxalt Disclosure Not Unexpected

Jon Ralston´s interview with Adam Laxalt came a week after he invited MGM Resorts´ Jim Murren onto the show. Murren told Ralston he had concerns that the Attorney General would show his support for the Restoration of Americas Wire Act by signing the letter, and commented:

There’s legislation out there to restore the Wire Act and states are looking at this. That would be setting the state of Nevada back 30 years. I very much hope our Attorney General doesn’t sign on to that because that literally would be saying I am against the gaming industry in Nevada, I’m against jobs, I’m against social media, I’m against IGT, I’m against the largest employer in the state.

Sandoval and Burnett Express Their Displeasure

Statements were quick to emerge from the offices of Nevada´s Governor and top gaming regulator. Governor Sandoval said that, as a former Attorney General and Gaming Commission Chairman, he was very concerned that someone representing Nevada´s legal interests would speak out against Nevada´s own online gambling bill that provides the state´s businesses with an environment in which they can grow and prosper.

Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board A. G. Burnett´s statement bluntly said I disagree on his position regarding RAWA. Burnett went on to criticize RAWA´s eradication of states´ rights and predicted that chaos would ensue if a carve-out was created for the unregulated industry of daily fantasy sports. He also expressed concern that a ban on regulated online gambling would open the door for an expansion of the offshore, unregulated online gambling industry.

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett