On Wednesday two Republicans who want to be President of the United States served the wishes of one of their biggest donors by re-introducing the Restoration of America's Wire Act, which would ban online betting in the United States.
Senators Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio and re-introduced the four page bill after Graham's attempt last year failed to get through. The bill is one that is supported by Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson, who has voiced his opposition to the expansion of online betting in the country.
Graham and Rubio have said that their support of the RAWA bill is not due to Adelson's influence, but the fact that he is a heavy donor to both cannot be overlooked. Before the original RAWA bill was introduced by Graham, the South Carolina politician met with Adelson, coming out of that meeting with an anti-online betting stance.
The Restoration of America's Wire Act bill would change a 2011 decision by the Department of Justice decision that the 1961 Wire Act only applies to sportsbetting and not other forms of internet betting. Under the bill online betting would be covered under the Wire Act, crippling the activities of states who have legalized the activity.
Commenting on Graham's RAWA attempt to outlaw online gambling Poker Players Alliance Executive Director John Pappas said, "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."
"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."