Poker Proponents Cannot Believe Testimonies of RAWA Hearing

Jason ChaffetzIn case you have been out of the loop over the past few days, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations held a hearing on Wednesday to hear information presented on the Restoration of America’s Wire Act. The bill is sponsored by Representative Jason Chaffetz who just so happens to be running the hearing. Witnesses were in place to discuss several points of online gaming but instead of reporting the facts, misinformation was presented, placing fear above all else in regards to the subject.

The proceedings were streamed online so anyone who was interested in the hearing could watch and take notes. The poker community could not believe how supporters of the legislation failed to understand basic principles of online gaming as well as provide inadequate information on the subject. Several pros and invested parties spoke out after the hearing was over, including Daniel Negreanu. On Twitter, the poker pro stated that ‘being well spoken or having an understanding of the topic you are debating is not required to be a politician.’

During the hearing, the technology aspect of online gaming was discussed heavily. This seemed to be the main area of concern for proponents of RAWA as Chaffetz stated that it was naive to think that you can suddenly make fictitious borders with technology and prohibit online gambling from coming into the state of Utah, which Chaffetz represents. Continuing, the Representative stated that it was be easy for a 16 year old child to figure out how to go online and play online casino gaming.

To the contrary, the Poker Players Alliance was able to demonstrate how geolocation technology is used to verify where a player is located and how it can be used to the benefit of regulated online gambling sites within the United States. When this demonstration was provided, Chaffetz was nowhere in sight, but members of his staff were present.

Parry Aftab, the CEO of WiredSafety, was a witness of the hearing and stated that there is no evidence that minors or players out of state have been able to access a gambling website. Aftab pointed out it is much easier for minors to be able to obtain a fake ID or spend time on a land based casino gaming floor than to be able to play poker online.

In support of RAWA, Michael Fagan of Washington University testified and spoke of online gambling and how it allows terrorists opportunities to launder money which can then be used to attack the US. In response to these claims, Editor Victor Rocha responded that listening to the hearing was an exercise in fear-mongering.

Also speaking out against the hearing, was Jeff Ifrah, a Gaming attorney. Ifrah stated on Twitter that based on the witness testimony, online gaming leads to terrorism, financial market collapse and the end of world order. Additional players and proponents continued to speak out on how the hearing was one-sided and poker players were not being represented fairly.

After the hearing was completed, it was clear that the testimony was anti-online gambling and was only going to fuel the support for online gaming in the future. The witnesses as well as proponents of the measure are being guided by Sheldon Adelson, which should be clear to those who saw the hearing take place.

Individuals in a position of legislative power need to review all information on a subject instead of being clouded by deep pockets. Many forget that being put in a legislative position is a gift by the voters and should be handled with care. Hopefully lawmakers will make the right decision based on the facts rather than hand-fed information that has nothing to do with the subject at hand.