Attorney General RAWA Petition Going Down in Flames



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Remember when a couple Attorneys General tried to get their colleagues to sign a petition in support of the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA)? If you read my other article today, you do. At first, it may have seemed a little scary, what with a whole lot of top law enforcement officials potentially getting onboard with a bill that aims to shut down online gambling in the United States. But don’t worry! They failed miserably.

As you likely well know by now, the Restoration of America’s Wire Act is the brainchild of Sheldon Adelson, who does not understand online gambling at all and thinks it is going to hurt is brick-and-mortar casino business. Because he is richer than most sultans and donates money to Republican political candidates who fall in line with him, he has been able to get RAWA introduced in both chambers of Congress because there are always people (Rep. Jason Chaffetz and Sen. Lindsey Graham) who want to catch a whiff of his wallet. RAWA has been largely criticized as “crony capitalism” and by most accounts, is not getting much support in Congress, but it’s still alive.

In October, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster and South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson began circulating a petition amongst the other state Attorneys General, asking them to support RAWA. The petition will then be sent to the leadership of the Judiciary Committees of both the U.S. House and Senate, urging them to support RAWA, as well.

The petition has garnered just eight signatures so far and won’t likely get many more, if any. Eight. And two of those are Koster’s and Wilson’s. So six, really. The offending parties, in alphabetical order by last name:

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster
Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt
Maine Attorney General Janet Mills
Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson

That’s just sad.

A similar petition was circulated last year and got nearly twice as many signatures (fifteen, or sixteen if you count Guam), which is still pretty terrible.

One standout in that list is Adam Laxalt, whose state of Nevada actually has a legal, regulated online poker industry. Should RAWA become law, that industry will vaporize. Thus, he is actively working to harm the economy of his own state.

Possibly feeling the heat, from other Nevada officials, Laxalt wrote his own, separate letter to the Judiciary Committees leadership this week, trying to clarify that he is against how the Wire Act was reinterpreted in 2011, not necessarily that it was reinterpreted. Of course, he did say he was in favor of online gambling, either.

He did dispel the ridiculous claim that regulated online gambling would bolster terrorism, saying:

With regard to Nevada-licensed Internet gaming operators, both current and past, I am unaware of any evidence to suggest that the foregoing description applies. On the contrary, I would note that Nevada’s gaming regulatory agencies are the finest in the world and have required any person or entity, prior to deploying any Internet-based or related technology, to submit to exhaustive background and business probity investigations. I am confident in the work of Nevada gaming regulators to ensure the quality of Nevada gaming licensees. With regard to unlicensed Internet gaming, I share the potential concerns expressed in the RAWA Letter.

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