Yesterday, December 15, 2014, the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the leading poker grassroots advocacy organization with more than one million members nationwide, offered the following comment after an effort to include the “Restoration of America’s Wire Act” (RAWA) into legislation during the 2014 “lame duck” session was rejected. The legislation, supported by Las Vegas Sands Corp. CEO Sheldon Adelson, was reportedly being considered as a rider to must pass legislation by Congressional leaders. Adelson was recently in the news in Florida as he was the principle person responsible for medical marijuana initiative, Amendment 2, not passing.
“News of the ‘lame duck’ backroom deal for the sole benefit of a billionaire casino owner disheartened many Americans who believe in a fair political process. I am beyond pleased this provision was kept out of the final legislation, and I couldn’t be more proud of America’s poker players for immediately taking action to notify their Member of Congress that this was a bad deal for players and consumers,” said John Pappas, executive director of the PPA.
Aimed at re-writing the 1961 Wire Act, RAWA would have imposed a federal-wide ban of online gambling and overturned existing online gambling legislation in Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey. As news of the potential “lame duck” deal came to light in November, players from across the country began urging their legislators through emails, phone calls and social media to speak out against the misguided legislation. At the same time the PPA advocacy team canvassed Capitol Hill to meet with key lawmakers and staff to reinforce the message being delivered by the player community.
Several conservative and libertarian thought leaders also raised public concern around the threat of this federal overreach. Outreach included a letter led by Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist and 10 other conservative group leaders urging Congress to “preserve the authority of the states”, as well as a column by former Congressman Ron Paul. Additionally, the National Fraternal Order of Police stated in a recent letter sent to Congress that “a Federal prohibition is irresponsible and will severely hinder our efforts to combat unlawful activity on the Internet.”
“While we have won this battle, the war is far from over. With respect to a federal prohibition Sheldon Adelson only needs to win once, we need to go undefeated. The PPA and our members are energized for 2015 and we will increase our opposition to RAWA-type legislation and continue to highlight the significant benefits a regulated online poker market offers online consumers, our economy and our broader society. In the end, the facts are on our side. Whether online poker is authorized federally or on a state-by-state basis, it is the only way to protect consumers,” Pappas continued.
The Poker Players Alliance is a nonprofit membership organization comprised of over 1,000,000 online and offline poker players and enthusiasts from around the United States who have joined together to speak with one voice to promote
the game and to protect poker players’ rights.