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Online poker advocates are gearing up for an eventful day on Wednesday, December 9 as the Pennsylvania House of Representatives will vote on a bill to regulate igaming, while the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold a hearing on the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA).

HB 649, which was approved 18-8 by the Pennsylvania House Gaming Oversight Committee in November, will get a full House vote. Should the measure pass, it would then go to the Senate for approval before landing on the desk of Gov. Tom Wolf for his signature.

PA legislators are still working on the long overdue budget. The latest scuttlebutt is that Senate lawmakers are none too keen on passing online poker and gambling regulation at this time. But we’ll have to first see if the House votes favorably on HB 649.

RAWA Revisited

While the policymakers in Pennsylvania are voting aye or nay and hashing out ways to balance revenue and expenditures, federal lawmakers will give Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s RAWA another look-see on Wednesday. The topic of the hearing is “A Casino in Every Smartphone – Law Enforcement Implications.”

This is the second go-round for Chaffetz and RAWA hearings in 2015, the first one held back in March before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations. That hearing was tilted in favor of opponents of igaming regulation with regard to the witnesses invited to testify.

Wednesday’s hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will focus on “how online gambling is vulnerable to being used for money laundering, terrorist financing, fraud, and other criminal activity,” as well as how the 2011 DoJ decision that allowed states to enact igaming legislation “opens the door to a casino in every smartphone around the country,” according to the committee website.

Witness List

Testimony will be provided on Dec. 9 by the following four invitees: Joseph S. Campbell, Assistant Director of the Criminal Investigative Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Donald W. Kleine, Douglas County Attorney, Nebraska; Nevada Senator Mark Lipparelli; and South Carolina Attorney General Alan M. Wilson.

Campbell has been with the FBI since 1990. He’s been promoted a number of times throughout his career, and his duties now include being “responsible for national level leadership of complex financial crime, public corruption, civil rights, and other sensitive criminal investigations.”

Kleine has held his elected prosecutorial position since 2007 and has “successfully prosecuted many high-profile criminal cases.” He just began his third four-year term.

Lipparelli chaired the Nevada Gaming Control Board during the time that the Silver State enacted its online poker regulations. He was appointed to the Senate one year ago after Mark Hutchison was elected lieutenant governor.

Wilson, along with Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, are the catalysts behind a recent letter sent to the attorneys general in every state, requesting them to support RAWA. Only eight attorneys general signed on, half as many as did in 2014 when a similar letter made the rounds.

The waning support of RAWA among the AGs is rather telling. States should have the right to pass igaming laws at their discretion. RAWA would take that right away.

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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.

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