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Shel Adelson’s Shadow Falls Across RAWA Hearings

Billionaire Shel Adelson’s influence over his pets in the US Congress is, seemingly, the reason why today’s hearing on the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) is a decidedly one-sided affair.

That’s the accusation being made by the American Spectator. According to the very conservative magazine, Adelson is the reason why no pro-online gambling voices will be heard at the event.

The hearing is, ostensibly, an occasion for members of Congress to gather all the information relating to a particular bill that they can.

In this case, the bill is H.R. 707 which would restore the Online Wire Act of 1962 and, in effect, shut down the budding American online gambling industry.

Though this issue is hardly on the front burner in most American homes, where bread and butter issues like gas prices and child care reign supreme, it’s a big deal to one Sheldon Adelson.

Adelson, as you might know, is not a fan of online gambling. In his opinion, it leads to gambling addiction, underage gambling, and a host of other social ills. (Oh, and it may impact his core land-based casino business, but it’s the kids he’s really thinking about.)

The American Spectator is quick to point out that Adelson didn’t actually purchase today’s hearing (that would be illegal after all). But they don’t pull any punches when laying out their theory of what’s really happening here:

Adelson didn’t actually buy a hearing. He merely contributed to the campaigns of those who called it and counted on them to take care of the witness list. And they did take care of it — four witnesses so far, all called by Republicans and all opposed to Internet gambling.

Adelson’s over-sized influence over America’s lawmakers is another example of the dysfunction in Congress, and why anyone who is waiting for reasonable Federal action on American online gambling should probably not hold their breath.