The Sheldon Adelson-inspired Restoration of America’s Wire Act, introduced in the House of Representatives by Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), would deal a severe blow to the fight for online poker regulation in the US if it were to be enacted.
Just how severe depends largely upon the final language itself, as there are expected to be several ‘carve outs’ before it could pass. But could an anticipated exemption for state lotteries leave a large door open for hopeful online poker players?
Delaware was the first state to enact online gaming, and by approaching it through their state lottery, it would seem that their online gaming could survive RAWA with a lottery exemption.
Whether this was brilliance or just dumb luck, it does present a model for a post-RAWA America, one that could force the entire industry to rethink its approach to the US market.
With the current approach the industry is following, international providers must enter into partnerships with local interests in every market they would like to enter. This is a complex approach that in all likelihood will not extend beyond a handful of large market states.
There will come a point where the cost/benefit ratio won’t be there, and players in those remaining states could be left high and dry.
RAWA, even with a lottery carve out, would likely mean the end of online gaming in New Jersey and Nevada, unless there is a ‘grandfather clause’ that allows these states to keep what they have intact.