Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) doesn’t want you playing poker online, and while the other 13 official candidates for the Republican ticket in 2016 are concentrating on pressing issues like the economy, ISIS, and healthcare, Graham seems to be largely concentrating his campaign on combatting Internet gambling.
Following his reintroduction of the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) last week, Graham has scheduled a US Senate Judiciary Committee hearing titled “Cyber Crime: Modernizing our Legal Framework for the Information Age.” The hearing, which was originally scheduled for June 17th, was postponed under the suspicion Graham wanted to delay the meeting until RAWA was once again on the Senate floor.
Though the Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, which Graham chairs, isn’t expected to specially focus on Internet gaming during the cybercrime hearing, many believe the 59-year-old Senator currently in his third term won’t bypass the opportunity to degrade the online gambling industry.
As 13 GOP candidates have officially announced their candidacy for the 2016 presidential election, it’s an all-out civil war inside the party ropes to raise the most amount of campaign funds, and that means all eyes are focused on Sheldon Adelson, the $30 billion dollar man who shelled out $92,769,625 to Republican candidates during the 2012 election through political action committees.
Adelson owns the Las Vegas Sands casino empire and is the leading proponent of an online poker and gambling ban. The billionaire has said previously he’ll “spend whatever it takes” to get RAWA passed and put iGambling into prohibition.
Graham has frequented Sheldon’s political events and is thought to be a close ally of the mogul, but he insists he isn’t enticed by a $30 billion potential supporter. “The fact that Sheldon is on board is a good thing, but I’m doing this because this is what I feel like I should do,” Graham said last March when he first introduced RAWA.
Graham’s hearing next week is expected to largely focus on cyber criminal attacks and the overall threat posed by hackers. “Cyber-terrorism is increasingly becoming the weapon of choice for rogue regimes and terrorist organizations,” Graham said following the North Korean attacks on Sony Pictures regarding its film “The Interview.”
But Graham and his RAWA co-sponsors have no problems in aligning the brutal dictatorship regime of Kim Jong-un with online gambling operators. “Many online gambling sites don’t screen for underage gamblers and do nothing to prevent money laundering, fraud or other criminal acts,” RAWA co-sponsor Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) said.
During Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s nomination hearing, Graham asked her, “Would you agree one of the best ways for a terrorist organization or a criminal enterprise to be able to enrich themselves is to have online gaming that would be very hard to regulate?”
Without question, certain iGaming and online poker rooms operating offshore have been rogue in their practices over the years, most recently Lock Poker in April of 2015, a network that closed its doors leaving millions of dollars in player accounts unreturned.
Unfortunately for Lock Poker customers, they have little to no recourse, which is why advocates of legalized Internet gambling believe a regulated market would create more safeguards for Americans.