The weather isn’t the only thing heating up in D.C. this summer. The battle over state-based online gambling has reached a fever pitch. Until last week, Congress had been seemingly quiet on the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA; H.R. 707), the bill to ban Internet gambling. But then Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced a companion bill to RAWA (S. 1668).
Behind closed doors, the push for Congress to vote on the bill before adjourning for summer recess has intensified and the tactics become more extreme. And as usual, Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson, one of RAWA’s most prominent supporters, is lurking in the background.
The National Association of Convenience Stores’s (NACS) lobbying firm, Steptoe & Johnson, recently hired the former Sands lobbyist who literally wrote RAWA. Convenience stores want to protect the monopoly they have on lottery ticket sales in most states. So, NACS is trying to convince lawmakers that state lotteries simply don’t have the technology to effectively regulate online gambling.
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