Lame Duck Congress Session to Make a Push for RAWA?

December 11th 2016 | Ivan Potocki

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Sheldon Adelson, the biggest opponent of online gambling, is likely to make another push for RAWA before the end of the year.

Looking at the political climate in the United States, Donald Trump’s recent victory has been receiving all the attention from the media. Everything else seems to be overshadowed by the guessing game of what will Trump do next? One such important event that’s been getting far less attention than it deserves is the lame duck Congress session.

This is the first time that the biggest opponent of online gambling in the USA, billionaire Sheldon Adelson has a legitimate chance of making a push for RAWA (Restoration of America’s Wire Act). Adelson will try to use his influence in the lame duck Congress to pass the bill that would mean the end for all forms of online gambling in the States.

What is RAWA all about?

The Wire Act was passed in 1961, making it illegal to place wagers on sporting events via telephone lines. It was a relevant act for that particular period and it achieved what it was designed to do. However, when online poker and online gambling came under scrutiny, the Wire Act was invoked once again.

Much to the dismay of online gambling opponents, the DoJ concluded the Wire Act was limited to telephones and sports wagering only. It couldn’t be applied to other gambling games or poker, and it certainly didn’t encompass internet communication.

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The idea of RAWA was born when it became apparent that the old Wire Act will be useless in dealing with online poker and general online gambling cases

That’s when the idea of RAWA was born.

RAWA (Restoration of America’s Wire Act) is actually the Wire Act on steroids, so to speak. It would expand the existing bill to encompass all forms of online gambling and would specifically address internet as such, instead of just telephone communications.

RAWA would mark the end of online gambling in the US

If passed, RAWA would make all forms of online gambling illegal. That means that even states where online poker is currently legal would have to stop accepting players and organizing online games.

Of course, this could potentially lead to lawsuits and legal altercations due to limiting states’ rights, but RAWA would be a very ugly chapter for online gambling in the States.

Up until now, all attempts to push RAWA through seemed highly unlikely to succeed. However, now that Congress is getting ready to vote on spending bill (likely before the end of the year), the Restoration of America’s Wire Act could be slipped through as a part of this larger bill.

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RAWA would basically end online gambling of all kinds in the US. Even currently regulated states would have to seize serving players

Time for Sheldon Adelson to Collect?

It is no secret that the billionaire casino owner has spent a lot of money supporting Republicans. Battling online casinos and online poker has been the biggest, most important Adelson’s agenda for a while now. Now he’s finally in a position where RAWA could become a reality.

If you want a safe bet, you can bet all you have that Mr. Adelson will not pass on this opportunity without giving it all he has.

Whether it will be enough or not remains to be seen. RAWA is still far cry from being a certainty, but if anti-online gambling lobbyists manage to set a few things the way they need them we could see another Black Friday in the very near future.

Ivan Potocki on EmailIvan Potocki on Twitter
Ivan Potocki
Ivan Potocki
Assistant Editor and Columnist at Beat The Fish
Ivan first started playing poker in 2006 and played professionally from 2010-2013. He holds a BA in English language and literature. Since joining the Beat The Fish team in 2016 Ivan has made an immediate impact, leading the news section and contributing numerous feature articles. You can reach Ivan directly at ivanpotocki@gmail.com

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