RAWA Rears its Ugly Head Once MoreDecember 14, 2016 11:25 am
Despite its constant knock-backs, the crusade to have all forms of internet gambling banned in the US continues unabated and on December 7th the latest incantation of The Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) reared its ugly head once more.
Leading the charge on this occasion is Pennsylvania Republican Representative Michael Fitzpatrick, and Representative Bobby Rush (D-Illinois), whose bill HR 6453 introduced to the House seeks to overturn the opinion stated by the Department of Justice in 2011 interpreting the 1961 Wire Act as only applying to remote sports betting, and not other types of online gambling games.
The latest manoeuvre aims at imposing a federal ban on all online gambling activities in the country, and is not just aimed at online poker and casinos, both chief hates of RAWA backer and Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson. In fact, bill HR 6453 would also view online lottery products as being in violation of federal law, thus depriving individual states of the opportunity to generate lucrative revenues for their budgets.
The introduction of HR 6453 also appears to be part of a larger coordinated attack by the anti-internet gambling lobby, as just a few days earlier ten State Attorney Generals across the country sent a letter to President-elect Donald Trump urging him to overturn the Wire Act’s 2011 reinterpretation, and so reimpose a federal ban of iGaming.
The letter was signed by the Attorney Generals of the following states; Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah. As its statement then read:
“The risks to our citizens are real and extensive. The ability for youth to access online gaming sites presents a significant risk to teens, a risk more easily mitigated at traditional brick-and-mortar establishments”.
Despite their attempts, HR 6453 is likely to face an uphill and ultimately unsuccessful road ahead, as it is generally seen as not only trampling on the rights of individual states, but also attempting to ban an online gambling industry which has thus far taken roots in three US states. Furthermore, 44 states in the US already have established lotteries.