Pennsylvania Congressman Michael Fitzpatrick (R) introduced a bill last week calling for a rollback on the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) 2011 decision giving states the final word on regulated online gambling.

Fitzpatrick’s bill, which clocks in at a remarkably short two pages, suggests that a decision from the DOJ does not, “…carry the full weight of the law,” and should be rolled back, according to a report on Cardplayer.com.

If this bill sounds a lot like the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), that’s probably because the two are remarkably similar. That’s probably because the bill’s co-sponsor, Congressman Charles Dent (D-Pennsylvania) is a RAWA supporter who has tried to push through this kind of bill in the past.

So what makes this effort different than previous efforts to shut down online poker in America?

For starters, the bill will be considered by a lame duck Congress that’s heading into a new and incredibly chaotic administration. Will the problems of the online poker industry carry much weight in Washington DC while government entities are grappling with issues like potential Russian interference in US elections?

And, of course, there’s always the very long shadow of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. Adelson pumped millions of dollars into GOP candidates during the election and there’s always the chance that his minions will take advantage of the lame duck session to pass RAWA, or something very similar.

Efforts to shut down the online gambling industry may find plenty of support when the new administration is installed in the White House on January 26. Despite Trump’s past as a casino owner, Vice-President elect Mike Pence is an outspoken critic of land-based and online gambling.

Of course any effort to shut down the nascent US-facing online gambling industry will require a US Congress that’s functional enough to actually pass a bill into law. Given that the current Congress is one of the least productive in US history, online gambling may not be in much danger after all.

 


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