Chaffetz Loses Ground in Second RAWA HearingPublished December 16, 2015 by Elana K
In the RAWA hearing held last week, online gambling opponents don't have much to show for themselves.
Last week’s hearing on RAWA, the Restoration of America’s Wire Act, is being hailed as an epic fail for Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Sheldon Adelson and other online gambling opponents. The bill was heard by the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and chaired by Chaffetz; despite the biased nature of the hearing, committee members were not impressed with the non-facts that online gambling opponents had to offer.
Testifying witnesses at the hearing were Nevada State Senator, Mark Lipparelli, Federal Bureau of Investigation Assistant Director Joseph S. Campbell, South Carolina Attorney General Alan M. Wilson and Douglas County (Nebraska) Prosecutor’s Attorney Donald W. Kleine.
Noticeably missing from the witness list: Any experts in the field of online gambling. Executive director of The Poker Players Alliance, John Pappas, would have been a prime candidate for a witness (he even attended the hearing), but he was not invited to the stand.
Three out of the four witnesses are famously anti-online gambling, with the one exception being Nevada State Sen. Mark Lipparelli. Lipparelli has been an important player in Nevada’s own enterprise of online gambling, and was apparently the only one of the four who had any experience with online gambling and solid facts.
Specifically, Lipparelli tackled the baseless claims that geolocation and ID-verification don’t work; he even invited the committee members to visit Nevada so they could see the regulating services of an actual online gambling operation.
Future of RAWA
What was meant to be a rallying cry for RAWA ended up going in the opposite direction. RAWA has been pushed forward by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, creator of the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, but has no factual or legal grounds to stand on. Not only would RAWA drive US players to play at unregulated, unsecured sites, but it would also trample on the rights of individual states.
As of now, three states have legalized and regulated online gambling: Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware.