Sheldon Adelson has created fear among online poker advocates, some believing that his RAWA has a chance to find approval among lawmakers.
RAWA, of course, is the Restoration of America’s Wire Act that was first introduced in both the House and Senate last March. Those supporting online poker legislation dodged a bullet last December when RAWA was not called for a hearing during the lame duck session that followed the November elections.
But RAWA is now getting greater attention with a hearing date set for March 5 before the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) is a member of that committee and one of the bill’s sponsors.
The latest push by Adelson and his Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) in having the bill considered by federal legislators has advocates of online poker legislation concerned that the billionaire casino mogul is gaining ground in his desire to eradicate online poker and gambling legalization in the U.S.
The Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the 1.2 million strong grassroots organization fighting on behalf of U.S. players, recently published an op-ed in California’s Sacramento Bee newspaper that centered around the need for that state’s gaming interests to come together and pass ipoker legislation before it’s too late.
The tone of the article in the Bee written by Steven J. Miller, the PPA’s California director, is one of dire urgency. It warns that if California lawmakers continue stalling with regard to approving online poker regulations, they run the risk of losing out altogether should Adelson find success.
California has been considering online poker legislation since 2009, yet those involved cannot seem to get over the same issues that have been dogging progress for years. In the meantime, Adelson has made progress since launching his CSIG in late 2013.
Adelson has plenty of cash to spend and has shown an inclination to do so in attempts to get his way. Some observers are of the mind that there are too many groups who oppose his stance on anti-online gambling to ever see an ipoker ban be realized through a statute such as RAWA.
This fight looks like it will go on for some time. Whether there is more urgency for online poker activists to gain ground now than in years past is a matter for debate. The PPA seems to think so.
Those for and against regulation will state their cases in the media and before lawmakers who agree to listen. But the stalemate among pro and anti igaming advocates is certainly a real one. And one that likely won’t be settled anytime soon, even with a hearing scheduled for next month.