Adelson-inspired senators Graham and Rubio retrigger the Restoration of America's Wire Act debate
Republican presidential hopefuls Sens. Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio re-introduced the Sheldon Adelson-inspired Restoration of America's Wire Act in the Senate Wednesday, a federal measure designed to ban most forms of online gambling without regard for states' rights.
Bricks and mortar billionaire Adelson is one of the Republican Party's biggest donors, wielding substantial political influence which he has used to further his plan to halt the progress of online gambling.
The House equivalent of the bill, sponsored by Republican Representative Jason Chaffetz, was re-introduced earlier this year and is currently at committee stage (see previous InfoPowa reports).
The four page bill closely mirrors that of Graham's unsuccessful attempt last year to ban online gambling through a measure widely believed to have been drafted by Adelson lobbyists.
Both Graham and Rubio have denied that their pursuit of an online gambling ban is due to Adelson's influence, although sceptics have pointed out that political donations to their campaigns could be helpful to their presidential ambitions next year.
Instead, they challenge a Department of Justice legal opinion in December 2011 that the 1961 Wire Act applies only to sports wagering and not internet gambling, claiming that such a reversal of policy should be legislated by elected politicians and not left in the hands of government bureaucrats.
The Poker Players Alliance action body immediately attacked the reintroduction of RAWA in the Senate, with executive director John Pappas pointing out: "Congress made the decision to adjourn early so they could attend services on Friday in Senator Graham's home-state [for the victims of the racist shootings in South Carolina last week].
"Unfortunately, Senator Graham has not reset his priorities and picked a very unfortunate time to engage in the Internet gaming debate."
Pappas added: "As the eyes of the nation are focused on South Carolina following the recent tragic event, I think I speak for most Americans when I express profound disappointment in Senator Graham for choosing this time to advance a bill for the sole benefit of a billionaire political donor.
"From bad timing to bad policy, it is clear Senator Graham's priorities are misplaced. Instead of banning consumer access to Internet poker, Congress should corral the unregulated marketplace and implement a system which protects consumers and empowers the government to hold fraudulent operators accountable.
"Sheldon Adelson's power over politicians, especially those running for president, is significant, but Congress must show it is stronger. Online poker licensing and regulation is the only way to ensure consumers are protected and Americans who want to play poker online, have a safe way to do so."
Online Casino News Courtesy of Infopowa