As Sheldon Adelson’s legal push to outlaw online poker in the US moves a little closer to a hearing by the House subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations, one of the game’s biggest names has stepped up to defend the industry.
Despite remaining relatively silent over the issue of RAWA (Restoration of America’s Wire Act) and Adelson, Daniel Negreanu decided to make his feelings known this week with a series of tweets damning those who support the billionaire casino magnate.
With rumors rife that a RAWA hearing will take place on March 5, Negreanu decided to speak up about the state of US politics and question the morals of those that have sold their political souls to Adelson’s empire.
The issue of crony capitalism has become one of the major talking points with regards to RAWA over the last few months and Negreanu was keen to highlight this to his 343,000 followers.
“How can any politician who takes money from Adelson in large quantities ever be taken seriously? How does sleep happen for them ever? If you are a politician, and take money from Sheldon Adelson, when did it all go wrong for you? When did integrity no longer matter?” Negreanu tweeted.
Although the PokerStars pro’s position in the igaming industry will cause some to question the integrity of his statement given that his employer could also be accused of trying to buy favor with US politicians. However, the point remains that Adelson’s backing of RAWA is something that many US citizens and online poker players are both wary of and disgusted about.
Fortunately, unlike the average poker player, Negreanu has a persona that stretches beyond the poker community. Thanks to numerous appearances on TV, Negreanu is one of the genuinely “famous” poker players. In fact, a few years ago he was pictured with President Obama who apparently referred to him as “that poker guy”.
Of course, a chance meeting with Obama probably won’t give Negreanu enough political clout to have RAWA dismissed out of hand; fortunately, however, that probably won’t be necessary. Although industry insiders such as Nolan Dalla have warned that RAWA has a very real chance of passing, others have suggested that the threat is minimal at best.
Regardless of its chances, organizations such as the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) are still doing as much as they can to push back against RAWA and its backer Mr. Adelson. Earlier this Andrew Lichtenberger, known as ‘LuckyChewy’ online, decided support the PPA and help raise funds through his network of contacts.
After meeting with the PPA’s Drew Lesofski, Lichtenberger agreed to help push the PPA’s message in the lead up to the forthcoming hearing on March 5.