RAWA, the Restoration of America’s Wire Act, may not be at the top of Sheldon Adelson’s talking points when he meets with Republican presidential hopefuls, but it’s likely the topic will come up.
And it will happen next month, as a select group of Republicans vying for the presidency in 2016 have been invited to speak in front of GOP mega-donor and anti-online poker advocate Sheldon Adelson.
Hosting three candidates as part of the Republican Jewish Coalition, which runs between April 24 and 26, Adelson will reportedly be sizing up the GOP candidate he intends to throw his financial weight behind in the lead up to next year’s election.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence, former Texas Governor Rick Perry and Texas Senator Ted Cruz will travel to Adelson’s Las Vegas hotel and casino The Venetian for a series of talks and meetings regarding Republican policy and matters of national interest.
Also slated to join the political party is former president George W. Bush, House Speaker John Boehner, and former GOP presidential seeker Mitt Romney. Rounding out the invitee list will be Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio.
However, it will be Cruz, Perry and Pence who will be most active during the event The Washington Post once dubbed, “The Sheldon Primary.”
Back in 2012, Adelson donated more than $90 million to various political action committees (PACs) in an effort to dethrone Barack Obama and get a Republican into the White House. His strategy of spending “whatever it takes” is one the poker community will be familiar with thanks to Adelson’s association with RAWA and the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling.
The casino magnate has regularly made mention of his support for RAWA and has suggested that he’ll use all of his financial and political influence to get it passed into law. In fact, this theme could form a part of the conference in April, as the three presidential candidates fight to win the support of the billionaire.
In previous years, Adelson has tended to favor politicians that shared his views on Israel. As NewsMax.com puts it, Adelson takes a “hawkish” position towards Israeli security and “candidates have been known to emphasize their pro-Israel credentials when seeking his support.”
However, this year the issue of online poker will almost certainly come up during the speeches. Although unconnected with RAWA, George W. Bush was the man in power in 2006 when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was brought into force and effectively shutdown online gaming in the US, which suggests he may have sympathies with the bill.
However, not everyone in attendance will be so anxious to talk up the virtues of RAWA. House Speaker Boehner was unwilling to accept RAWA in the “cromnibus” at the close of 2014; however, he did reportedly call Adelson personally to discuss the issue with him.
As it stands, RAWA will be heard by the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations on March 26 thanks to a continued campaign by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-UT. According to many industry insiders, the bill will likely receive little support from the House, and Haley Hintz of Flushdraw.net has suggested the hearing is nothing more than an “Adelson-branded dog ‘n pony show.”
When Adelson’s political allies meet in April, the issue of RAWA will likely surface again; however, these discussions are unlikely to directly affect the fate of US iGaming in the coming months.