Two US senators are so outraged over the recent legalization of online gambling in Pennsylvania that they’re threatening to revive the long dead Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA). It’s a move that could both set off a major battle over states rights and/or crush the US online gambling business.
RAWA’s resurrection came earlier this week when senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) sent a letter to the Department of Justice investigate online gambling at the state level and reverse its decision to not enforce key elements of the 1961 Wire Act.
The letter itself outlined some common arguments against online gambling that are both dated and inaccurate and was quickly torn apart by gaming sites such as Calvinayre.com and OnlinePokerReport.com. Writers at both sites correctly pointed out a number of factual errors in the letter, starting with the fact that the senators suggested that the 1961 Act was written with the intention of stamping out online gambling. Online gambling would not, in fact, even exist for more than three decades after the Act was written.
The senators also suggested that the spread of regulated online would bring an influx of organized crime and gambling addiction and that only RAWA could stop it. Their claim was presented without any evidence, although a study of the impact of online gambling in New Jersey would certainly provide hard data to back up or, more likely, disprove their claims.
While the senators are happy to rage against online gambling, their chances of pushing RAWA through Congress seem quite slim. The bill never gained much traction during more functional eras of US politics and seems unlikely to grasp a foothold in a time when lawmakers are struggling to pass bills of any kind.
Regardless of whether this current RAWA revival succeeds or not, it stands as a stark warning that regardless of the gains made by the online gambling industry in the US, there are always those powerful folks who want to see the entire industry eliminated.
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