Sheldon Adelson RAWA Bill Stalled During Lame Duck Congress

December 10th, 2014 | by Greg Shaun
Sheldon Adelson RAWA rejected by Congress

Sheldon Adelson’s hopes of RAWA passage have been dashed in lame-duck Congressional session. (Image:NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty)

The Restoration of America’s Wire Act, nicknamed RAWA, has been a threat for a number of months. But now, online poker players across the US are celebrating after Sheldon Adelson’s latest attempt to kill the virtual game was unsuccessful when it failed to achieve inclusion in the omnibus spending bill coming in front of the lame duck Congress.

A Blow for Adelson

Following the recent US elections a lot of the chatter on Capitol Hill among Adelson’s supporters was that the bill would be piggybacked onto a piece of must-pass legislation during the Congressional transition. Fortunately, however, any hopes of that happening have now been dashed thanks to a backlash from numerous political and social organizations across the states.

In fact, earlier this week, Senator Harry Reid said that if RAWA had any chance of being considered in the lame-duck period it would be as part of the CRomnibus bill. However, after a 1,603 page list of legislative measures was passed to Congress, Adelson’s bill was noticeably absent. The news was broken by a number of interested parties, including the Poker Players Alliance which tweeted:

“@ppapoker – #CRomnibus will not carry internet #poker prohibition pushed by Adelson. Kudos to all of you who made your voice heard.”

That announcement ended weeks of speculation and uncertainty, but, more importantly, it means online poker in the US will remain unaffected heading into 2015. Of course, while that doesn’t mean an end to Adelson’s push for iGaming to be banned, the Republicans’ refusal to grant his request will certainly be a blow to his plans.

So, why the sudden change of heart by those in power on Capitol Hill? Since the start of November there has been mounting pressure from numerous groups across the US. However, many industry experts have pointed to the conservative backlash as the main reason why RAWA was put on ice.

No Love for RAWA

At the close of November President of Americans for Tax Reform, Grover Norquist, led a group of ten prominent conservatives in a move against RAWA. Outlining that the bill would threaten the liberty of every State in the US, Norquist’s letter to Congressional leaders highlighted that: “States don’t need federal government babysitting them.” He followed this up by stating that Republicans should be focused on preserving the “authority of the states.”

Also joining the choir of opposition to RAWA was former Senator Ron Paul and his son, and potential Presidential candidate, Rand Paul. Paul senior called any attempt to pass Adelson’s bill as an act of “crony capitalism” and something that shouldn’t be a part of mainstream politics. For Paul, the influence of “mega donors” on party policies is deplorable and something Congress should shield itself from.

Given the latest news, online poker players across the world have been celebrating today. Although Adelson’s bill won’t prevent anyone outside of North America for accessing iGaming sites, the fact that the US is the largest poker market in the world makes it significant for everyone. Black Friday had a negative effect on the global poker economy, but the hope is that this latest piece of news could have a positive impact on the industry heading into 2015.



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