RAWA Reintroduced by Senator Lindsey Graham

Lindsey GrahamIn a negative turn of events when it comes to online poker in the United States, Senator Lindsey Graham has reintroduced the Restoration of America’s Wire Act. Poker proponents were not happy to hear the Graham along with the bill’s co-sponsor Senator Marco Rubio had reintroduced the measure, along with the support of five additional senators.

Both Graham and Rubio are two GOP presidential candidates for 2016 and have their legislation backed by Sheldon Adelson. The CEO of the Las Vegas Sands, Adelson has been very open of his opposition of online poker and has spent countless amounts of money to campaign for the banning of online poker. Adelson tries to show that online poker is harmful for children as well as the broader public.

Critics of the measure and Adelson feel as though the casino mogul is trying to lock out any competition to his land based casinos. With the proposal, the federal restrictions of online gambling would be renewed. The original meaning of the Wire Act would apply, which was used to prosecute online gambling including poker.

It was back in 2011 that the Justice Department ruled that the wire act would be interpreted differently and not include online gambling, except sports betting. In a statement Graham said:

Lindsey Graham's Quote

Rubio announced his bid for the 2016 election back in April and is just now starting to sponsor the RAWA legislation. Rubio also has stated that even though he was not a sponsor of the bill last year, he has been opposed to gambling. Rubio stated:

Marco Rubio's Quote

Proponents of online poker feel as though if a blanket ban was put in place an online black market would be created. This would be a harmful environment for online gamblers, that with regulation could be controlled and benefit the US states individually. Proponents also feel as though Graham and Rubio are working Adelson’s agenda to gain political contributions. In the past, Adelson has spent millions on campaign donations. In 2012, Adelson spent $93 million which was the amount publicly disclosed during the campaign.

After the announcement of Graham’s bill was announced, it was released that a new bill was introduced, this one by Representative Joe Barton. The bill by Barton is just the opposite of the RAWA legislation and would provide regulation for online poker gaming.

Both bills have been introduced and now it will be for Congress to decide which measure, if any will move forward. There are arguments for both sides and neither can seem to come to some type of compromise with the other. For now, we know that Adelson will spend as much as he can to push for a ban on online poker gaming across the board. Only time will tell if he will get his wish or if the US will finally offer online poker gaming across the board.