The New RAWA

bill legal lawAdvocates of regulated online gambling in the United States received good news this week when it was learned Sheldon Adelson and the Las Vegas Sands Corp. have decided to stop supporting a 50-state ban on online gambling. Adelson has spent tens of millions of dollars in supporting “Restoration of America’s Wire Act” (RAWA), but has seen the legislation stall on Capital Hill.

Online players should not celebrate too soon, because the new RAWA bill might well be perfectly tooled to cause mischief, if a nativist politician came to power looking to score easy victories over anyone deemed a devious foreigner.

RAWA first was placed before the US Congress in the spring of 2014, when Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah each sponsored the bill in their respective houses of Congress. A bipartisan list of lawmakers signed on to co-sponsor the bill, and there were concerns whether a federal ban on online gambling might happen.

In the 2014 legislative calendar, RAWA received little support. After months of failure, proponents of RAWA tried to have the legislation placed in the December 2014 omnibus spending bill. Sen. Chuck Grassley declined to put RAWA in the omnibus and it appeared to have died in committee.

In 2015, Restore America’s Wire Act seemed to receive added impetus when its congressional proponents gained in status. Rep. Chaffetz became the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, the only committee with the authority to issue subpoenas.

Lindsey Graham launched a bid to be the Republican Party’s nominee for the 2016 presidental election. In June 2015, a week before he launched his own bid for the GOP nomination, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida signed on a co-sponsor of the bill.

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