The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) realized in mid-May that a spending bill had received a Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA)-like language. The bill was scheduled to be heard on May 25 by the House Appropriations Committee.
Even though the bill didn’t refer to RAWA directly, its origin was clear due to its anti-online poker message. In addition, Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) added it to the bill, requested by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). To many, this was a clear attempt to advance the efforts of anti-online poker without an open vote.
Luckily, thanks to various pro-online lobbyists and the work of the PPA, Rep. Dent decided to withdrawn the amendment last minute, after he saw his approach was failing.
Rich Muny, the PPA’s VP of Players Relation was able to point out quickly that even though Dent’s home state of Pennsylvania is on the edge of legalizing iGaming, Sheldon Adelson’s Sands Bethlehem is in Rep. Charlie Dent’s district.
According to Muny, it is not surprising that Dent has promised to “try this again” in another House hearing in the future.
At this point, as we have seen, efforts to stir up support for RAWA are ineffective. The anti-online poker legislation has not receive much support lately, despite the brief moment of notoriety of the bill backed by Adelson.
RAWA is still important and lobbyists, operators and players across the US have to take it seriously, however the latest public defeat is an evidence that its threat is fading.
In fact, while RAWA’s popularity decreases, support for iGaming regulation is rising.
Industry insiders believe that in Pennsylvania a bill that would regulate online gaming will pass in the coming weeks.
If this is the case, four states in the US will allow online poker. This could influence other states such as California and New York to do the same.