RAWA Conference Fizzles, PPA Skewers CSIG and Sheldon Adelson Anyway

The slowly rotting entrails of the Sheldon Adelson-funded “Restoration of America’s Wire Act” (RAWA) bill were on display again today, courtesy of a press conference called by the primary Adelson mouthpiece-group, The Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG), and a handful of far-right religious groups.  Their problem, though, is that it appears almost no one bothered to attend the RAWA-themed presser, the latest embarrassment in a string of such public setbacks for the Jason Chaffetz / Lindsay Graham-sponsored legislation.

csig-logoOddly enough, if it wasn’t for the gambling world taking its easy potshots at RAWA’s pending demise, the bill might not draw any news coverage at all.

That RAWA is on the way to the legislative dunghill is already widely known, and many of its presumed Congressional backers are already distancing themselves from RAWA and instead considering a “moratorium” on online gambling.  That wholly disingenuous moratorium proposal isn’t likely to garner any more support, since it tries to do the same thing in the interests of Adelson’s bulging pocketbook, by attempting to annul long-existing states’ rights.

RAWA’s last rites may be imminent, but that doesn’t mean its most ardent supporters aren’t out there trying to administer CPR.  Just a couple of days ago, a couple of anti-gambling states’ attorneys general, Chris Koster of Missouri and Alan Wilson of South Carolina, again tried to drum up state-level support for RAWA despite most state AG’s already stating their opposition to Adelson’s pet bill.

And the last time there was a RAWA meeting or presser scheduled in DC, the same location as today’s non-affair, the results were similar.  Earlier this month, the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Michelle Minton wrote on the real state of RAWA in “The Death of RAWA: A Performance for an Audience of One“.

Yet CSIG is still out there plugging, at least as long as Adelson’s checks keep rolling in.  However, today’s press conference — however it actually went, since no news outlet appears to have been on hand to cover it — might turn out to be RAWA’s very last public gasp.  The media advisory announcing the press conference appeared tp have been penned by a volunteer intern; OnlinePokerReport had a bit of fun yesterday in skewering it, for both its factual inaccuracies and eighth-grade grammar and spelling.

Then there’s the Poker Players Alliance, the US-based, pro-poker group that loves pummeling a hapless foes such as CSIG and RAWA when such opportunities as today’s present themselves.  It’s a safe bet that the PPA’s condemnation of RAWA, Jason Chaffetz and Sheldon Adelson was far more widely read than any news about the CSIG press conference itself.

“Rep. Chaffetz and the Sheldon Adelson-backed CSIG cannot cite a single example of player or operator malfeasance in the three states that have appropriately authorized online gaming,” stated the PPA’s counterpunch.  “That is because regulation works. Today, in the U.S. and in regulated markets throughout the world, it is required that Internet gaming companies consent to audits, the implementation of anti-money laundering compliance programs and multi-step identity verification processes, bot detection, and other regulatory measures. These operators employ ‘best of breed’ technologies that protect minors and problem gamblers, ensure that the games are fair, and that sites block players in prohibited jurisdictions. Additionally, regulated operators are accountable to the players, regulators, and law enforcement, and they are continually reviewed to ensure they are meeting, and exceeding, the prescribed technical safeguards. None of this is possible if Rep. Chaffetz and Sheldon Adelson get their way.”

“The truth is that the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling and efforts to ban Internet gambling were put in motion solely to benefit a billionaire casino owner’s bottom line,” said John Pappas, the PPA’s executive director.  “Concerns around the ‘dangers’ of regulated Internet gambling are clearly manufactured and fall flat when you look at the facts.”

As the PPA’s Pappas and the OPR skewering duly note, RAWA itself is being pitched on the back of a gigantic lie — that the dangers of unregulated online gambling can only be solved if RAWA itself is passed.  The regulatory schemes that have proven to be effective both in the United States and across most of Europe are proof indeed that regulation does work.  Instead, CSIG keeps trying to set up straw men and phony arguments, a sure sign that they’ve been on the losing, lying side all along.


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