Wheels Fall off RAWA at Congressional Committee Hearing

RAWAJason Chaffetz´s attempts to muster support for the Restoration of Americas Wire Act failed miserably yesterday – leaving the bill with nowhere to go.

Any possibility that support for the Restoration of Americas Wire Act (RAWA) would gather steam at yesterday´s hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was severely quashed, when witness after witness supporting a blanket ban of online gambling failed to give any credible evidence in support of their arguments – if any at all.

The hearing – entitled “A Casino in Every Smartphone – Law Enforcement Implications” – was contrived by Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz to promote the concept of a nationwide only gambling ban through RAWA. Although supposedly an “informative meeting” – and not intended to go to a vote – nearly every committee member voiced an opinion opposed to the anti-gambling bill.

Chaffetz Opens Hearing with Usual Rhetoric

The hearing started with Chaffetz once again pouring out the same misinformation about how children were not protected from online gambling and how geolocation technology was inadequate to prevent regulated online gambling in one state “bleeding” into another that may not want it – such as Chaffetz´s own state of Utah.

Chaffetz was lamely supported by Joseph Campbell, an Assistant Director at the FBI´s Criminal Investigative Division at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson – the co-author of the now infamous [geolink href=”https://www.usafriendlypokersites.com/ppa-fights-new-attorney-general-rawa-threat/”]Attorney General letter[/geolink] – and Donald Kleine, the Douglas County Attorney from Nebraska, each of whom gave law-enforcement themed prepared speeches.

Witnesses Burned One-by-One

Campbell claimed that there once was an instance when an alleged (never charged) terrorist suspect chip-dumped money to a co-conspirator on an unnamed poker site, but conceded under questioning the brick and mortar casinos were more likely venues for money laundering. He was also forced to admit that the FBI had never prosecuted anybody for money laundering through an online gambling site.

Wilson incompetently argued that RAWA was a states´ rights issues for the “bleeding” reason that Chaffetz had given in his opening monologue, but he was shot down in flames by his own state senator – Rick Mulvaney – when asked why he supported the states´ rights to oppose gun controls but not online gambling. Mulvaney openly called Wilson a states´ right hypocrite.

Kleine argued that local law enforcement did not have the resources to combat illegal online gambling. When asked whether the DoJ opinion (that the Wire Act only applied to sports betting) was responsible for an increase in illegal gambling in Nebraska, Kleine said that it had, but could not produce figures to substantiate his answer. Both Kleine and Wilson were stumped for an answer when they were asked how they would feel about a federal bill allowing regulated online gambling in all fifty states.

Lipparelli Suggests Concrete Knowledge Should Replace Speculation

The one anti-RAWA witness invited to testify at the committee hearing was Nevada State Senator Mark Lipparelli. Lipparelli had helped craft Nevada´s online gambling legislation when he served as the Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, and he told the committee that although no system was bulletproof, his own personal experience gave him confidence that the regulated model does work.

Lipparelli went on to suggest that concrete knowledge should replace speculation and spoke eloquently and fluently about the successes of online gambling in Nevada – noting that attempts to compromise Nevada´s online safeguards against underage and out of state online gambling had been revealed, thwarted, evaluated, and, where warranted, new standards are implemented.

Where is the “Whole Host of Support”?

By the time Chaffetz wrapped up the hearing, it appeared that only two of the forty-three committee members had any intention of supporting RAWA if it came to a vote – Representatives Glenn Grothman from Wisconsin (a RAWA co-sponsor) Gary Palmer from Alabama. Despite this, Chaffetz claimed that his bill had a whole host of bipartisan support – support he will need to carry his bill any further now that the wheels seem to have fallen off of it!

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett