The Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA)August 25th, 2015 by Ezra Beaton
Twin bills in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate are currently being reviewed, which if passed, would spell the end of online poker playing in America.
The Restoration of America’s Wire Act seeks to reinstate a previous interpretation of the Interstate Wire Act of 1961, making any and all gambling through interstate or foreign communications using technological means illegal.
As it is written, it seems that it will not only make online poker illegal for the poker rooms or sites to host, but also make it illegal for the players to patronize any online poker rooms that would be operating illegally.
The silver lining seems to be that it does not provide wording which would prohibit the currently rising business of in-state online poker in states which have allowed casinos to open their own sites, it will only outlaw any inter-state transmission of betting information.
Major Opposition to Online Poker
In my opinion, this is yet another instance of the silent majority. Those who oppose internet gambling most vehemently are people who make their living by running casinos in the United States.
Sheldon Adelson, CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, is first and foremost among these opponents. Needless to say, we are not all Sheldon Adelson. We are not all multibillionaires.
Sheldon Adelson can claim that he opposes internet gambling because of his deep abiding love for humanity and he can claim that the dangers of allowing gambling into your home disgusted him enough to take action, by sponsoring the writing and political review of a law criminalizing such behavior.
He can claim that these are the reasons and thoughts behind his actions, but we don’t have to believe him. We don’t have to believe that a multibillionaire casino owner opposes interstate internet gambling out of the goodness of his heart and soul. We can speak up, allowing our state’s representatives to hear our side of the story.
Proponents for Online Poker
If we would all take part in the democratic process I’m sure we would see that the loudest opponents of online poker are really in the minority, they just happen to have more money to spend on marketing. Let’s hope that marketing alone isn’t enough to pass the Restoration of America’s Wire Act bill.
The Senate bill seems to still be in the Judiciary Committee where it is being reviewed and debated. There is still time to have your say in the process. Please, write to your congressman or congresswoman, simply to tell them that you oppose the Restoration of America’s Wire Act.
Any comments linking to studies debating poker’s inherent bias towards skill rather than chance would be much appreciated. The argument for poker being a contest of skill versus chance may or may not affect this bill’s treatment of the game, but it would still be a debate well worth having just to allow the bill to be more thoroughly hashed out for wording issues.