Many will recall that Mother Nature joined the growing opposition to RAWA by threatening a winter storm earlier this month that forced the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security to cancel the hearing. With spring in the air and baseball right around the corner, lawmakers will gather in a week and a half to listen to expert testimony with regard to banning online gambling.
Coincidentally, the new hearing date of March 26 is exactly one year since Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham first introduced RAWA in the House and Senate, respectively.
Conference Call Raises Eyebrows
Chaffetz likely won’t be receiving anniversary wishes from lottery officials in 20 states who were part of a conference call earlier this month designed to discuss a possible carveout in RAWA that would permit online lottery sales. As it stands now, the bill would allow only horse racing and fantasy sports wagering over the Internet.
The Utah representative reportedly told the lottery honchos to draft and introduce their own bill if RAWA was unacceptable to them. Many of those participating in the conference call were apparently surprised by the statement of Chaffetz.
Graham Raises More Eyebrows
Graham also caught many by surprise recently when he revealed that he had never used the Internet to send an email. His comments came about over the controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton and whether she used a personal account to send emails pertaining to official government business.
“I don’t email,” Graham said. “You can have every email I’ve ever sent. I’ve never sent one.”
So the sponsor of a bill aimed at banning Internet gambling isn’t familiar with the Internet. An innovation that has changed the world and the way people communicate. It’s certainly not the first time that a lawmaker has been considered out of touch with the times, and unfortunately, it likely won’t be the last either.
Opposition to RAWA Growing
Individuals and organizations who have spoken out against RAWA continue to grow. The Democratic Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, Campaign for Liberty, American Conservative Union, and Fraternal Order of Police to name a few.
In fact, if those opposed to RAWA all sat down to play at a poker tournament, there would be no overlay. And seats would likely have to be made available for late registrations.
Table Tilted at Hearing
While the new hearing date of March 26 was announced, there has been no indication that the expert witness list has been altered. Of four experts set to lend their expertise, three can be considered anti-online gambling and just one for the pro side.
That is likely the way Sheldon Adelson wants it. The billionaire casino owner is pulling the strings of his Republican cronies, with Chaffetz and Graham leading the way.