$100 Million Not Enough to Stop Online Gambling
Sources within the US Government have revealed that Sheldon Adelson’s all-out bid to finally eliminate internet gambling in the US with his RAWA (Restoration of America’s Wire Act), has failed after the Republican Party denied the bill a hearing in the final days of the hectic post-election lame-duck sessions.
US Lawmakers were on the verge of unveiling a $1.1 trillion spending bill that would keep the Government running until next September. As well as the necessary funding, they were in the process of negotiating possible riders affecting government actions on pensions, insurance, transportation, the environment and online gambling.
Sources on Capitol Hill as well as in the gaming industry have said that they acknowledge that House Speaker, John Boehner, representative of Ohio, had declined provisions sought by Adelson that would reinstate a policy, the RAWA, making it illegal to gamble using any internet technology.
Although it seems unlikely that anything will happen before the session ends on Friday, officials have said that anything could happen during the lame-duck sessions end.
John Pappas, Executive Director of the Poker Players Alliance did say that the spending bill “is still open for negotiations so there is always room for shenanigans”.
House Leaders, “weighed it and it’s unlikely they will do it in lame duck, but we don’t see Adelson pushing this,” commented a lobbyist who asked to remain anonymous.
One of the many reasons for the decision not to push the bill was the reactions of many conservatives who have felt that a federal ban on gambling could be construed as a violation of state’s rights.
Many House Leaders “are not excited to throw something into a lame-duck that might incite some rebellion by a faction party,” said one speaker, but added a caution: “weirder things have happened, and until they adjourn, people are going to be pretty vigilant,” for any potential throwbacks.
As it has happened before, on the last day of Congress in 2006, the previous bill restricting online gambling, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), was attached to a completely unrelated port security measure that then became law. The bill that kickstarted “Black Friday” was then “rammed though Congress by the Republican leadership in the final minutes before the election period,” said industry analyst Nelson Rose in a review he wrote on the events.
If Congress were to delay or decline the bill, it would deal a heavy blow to Adelson, who has previously stated that he would be “willing to spend whatever it takes,” to defeat any an all forms of online gambling. So far, Adelson has given Republicans over $100 million in an effort to gain favor and have any internet based gambling eradicated, something he believes to be unacceptable from a moral standpoint as well as being bad for the casino industry in general.
Adelson’s main argument, as was showcased in the many ads he has funded that have said online gambling is too addictive, is easy for children to use and abuse and has even said that terrorist organizations and organized crime syndicates are able to use internet gambling to fund terror groups and launder money.
However, as weak as his arguments have been and as many times as they have been disproved by various industry professionals who have all said online gambling, in many aspects, is safer than land based casinos, Adelson has refused to end his crusade against the online world and looks set to spend even more money in 2015 in order to finally have it banned.
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