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Nevada was the first state to enact and launch regulated online poker in the U.S., but perhaps wouldn’t have if the state’s current attorney general had his druthers.

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt when on record as saying that he is prepared to join a number of other attorneys general from other states in signing a letter in support of the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA). The letter is currently circulating and being pushed by South Carolina AG Alan Wilson and Missouri AG Chris Koster as a petition urging leaders of the judiciary committees of the House and Senate to support RAWA.

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The puppetmaster of RAWA, of course, is Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino owner whose aim is to stop the spread of regulated igaming and to tear down the regimes of the three states currently operating legal online poker and gambling sites. RAWA would accomplish that goal, taking away the rights of states to enact igaming legislation as was ruled four years ago by the DoJ, and giving control to federal lawmakers/

Not on the Same Page

According to Laxalt: “Congress spoke on this issue and we had an existing Wire Act. And then [U.S.] Attorney General [Eric] Holder issued an opinion a few days before Christmas some years ago and changed that landscape. He changed that landscape without…all the parties that should’ve been involved to make sure that we can keep consumers safe and all this can be done properly. I think obviously in this case we are looking to return it back to what the status quo was…and then we put it back to Congress so these guys can figure it out.”

Laxalt made his comments on “Ralston Live,” a Nevada Public Broadcasting show hosted by Jon Ralston. His remarks came as a surprise to Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, who signed the state’s online poker legislation into law in February 2013.

In response to Laxalt’s comments, Sandoval stated that he is “very concerned that anyone representing the state’s legal interests would speak out against current state law in our leading industry. At its core, this is a state’s rights issue and I disagree with the Attorney General that a federal government one-size-fits-all solution is in the best interest of Nevada.”

RAWA Hearing Next Month

The Nevada AG’s remarks come at a time when a fourth state, Pennsylvania, is making progress toward passing online gambling legislation. A House committee in the Keystone State voted 18-8 in favor of an igaming bill last week.

Previous attempts to drum up support for RAWA in a similar fashion last year fell short when only a dozen or so signatures were tallied. In fact, a number of groups and organizations spoke out against RAWA in the past, citing the belief that the federal proposal over-reaches its boundaries and stomps on the rights of states.

RAWA will be discussed by lawmakers on December 9 when the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee holds a hearing on the measure.


Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.