PPA to Show RAWA Flaws with Capitol Hill Demonstrations

March 24th, 2015 | by Brian Corlisse
RAWA PPA fights back

The PPA will show political figures the sophistication of online gaming technology ahead of this week’s RAWA hearing, hoping to quell its passage. (Image: pokerfuse.com)

RAWA, watch out: the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) has a few tricks up its sleeve to make you vanish from the American landscape.

The fate of online poker in the US could be made somewhat clearer on March 25, once the House Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations subcommittee finishes debating the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA).

This is when the PPA will also be hosting a series of technical briefings. Set to take place on Capitol Hill and explain how online poker technology is able to create a safe playing environment, the briefings will feature expert insights and demonstrations from Caesars Interactive and Geocomply.

The programs are geared at counteracting the moves of Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, the man trying to implement a federal ban on all iGaming activities across the US; even in the three states that have already regulated the industry: Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware.

Friend in the Witness Box

Fortunately, the hearing will feature at least one poker-friendly witness. Thanks to pressure from the PPA, Andrew Moylan, the executive director and senior fellow at the R Street Institute, will now be part of proceedings.

Working for a non-profit organization in favor of free market and “limited, effective government,” Moylan’s R Street has already shown an affinity for online poker in a 2014 article entitled: Five reasons why online poker is here to stay.

Aside from citing reasons such as that poker is a popular past time and states need the money, the article also suggests that Adelson is hard to take seriously as a moral crusader. The main point the author, Steven Titch, picks up on is that Sheldon Adelson’s opposition to iGaming is somewhat ironic given that he’s made his fortune from casinos.

Talking Points

Showing of the process of geolocation and ID verification, the seminars will give congressmen, senators, governors and, interestingly, political media members a chance to see the technology in action. Moreover, the demonstrations are designed to disprove Sheldon Adelson’s claims that minors are at risk from the proliferation of online poker across the US by showing technical safeguards that are part of iGaming technology now.

To date, this has been one of Adelson’s biggest arguments against iGaming, and a sentiment that’s continually echoed by his political allies. For those in the industry, such claims have always caused an adverse reaction and something many experts, such as Matthew Katz of CAMS, a geolocation provider, have labeled as a political “red herring”.

In fact, since online poker regulation was passed in New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware, there hasn’t been one reported instance of underage gambling.

Although the timing of the demonstrations by the PPA and RAWA’s moment in the spotlight are seemingly coincidental (the delay in hearing RAWA earlier in March has contributed to the alignment), it’s certainly significant.

Over the last few weeks, opposition to RAWA has increased, and with industry experts ready to show the flaws in the fundamental arguments of the bill, it looks ever more likely that the deck is stacked in the industry’s favor and that RAWA will be given little political credence.

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