Congress Fails to Implement RAWA…Again
Earlier this month, lawmakers attempted to quietly insert a RAWA-like amendment into a spending bill that was bound for the House Appropriations Committee. The amendment read:
Since 1961, the Wire Act has prohibited nearly all forms of gambling over interstate wires, including the Internet. However, beginning in 2011, certain States began to permit Internet gambling. The Committee notes that the Wire Act did not change in 2011. The Committee also notes that the Supreme Court of the United States has stated that ‘criminal laws are for courts, not for the Government, to construe.’
That bit of convoluted legalese basically says that the US Government is obliged to enforce the Wire Act of 1961, which prohibits gambling over “interstate wires,” no matter what else happens.
The amendment was introduced by Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) (pictured above) to the bill at the behest of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Not surprisingly, both men have ties to billionaire casino magnate, and all around online gambling hater, Sheldon Adelson. Dent’s home district is also, coincidentally, home to Adelson’s Bethlehem Sands Casino.
Fortunately for the US-facing igaming industry, the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) caught wind of Dent’s scheme and were able to marshall their forces to fight it. Shortly after the RAWA-like language was unmasked, Dent pulled the amendment and the spending bill passed without impacting internet gambling interests.
This wasn’t the first time lawmakers have attempted to sneak some form of RAWA into law and it almost certainly won’t be the last.