Adelson Meets Privately with House Republicans Regarding Online Gambling Ban

Sheldon Adelson continues to push his position on online poker.

Sheldon Adelson continues to push his position on online poker.

Per a report from Townhall.com, Sheldon Adelson recently had a private meeting with the Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee – which just so happens to be the committee where the Adelson-inspired Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) bill was referred after being introduced.

It should also be noted that of the powerful committee’s 39 members, 11 House Judiciary Committee members co-sponsored RAWA in 2014, which was introduced by committee member Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), a remarkable number considering RAWA garnered only 19 total cosponsors in the House of Representatives.

Poker Players Alliance (PPA) Vice President of Player Relations Rich Muny talked about Adelson’s one-on-committee meeting on his Poker Advocacy Podcast this week, claiming Adelson spoke to the Republican committee members on issues ranging from Israel to online gambling. As Muny noted, this type of accessibility demonstrates the political power Adelson wields in the halls of Congress.

RAWA in 2014

RAWA was introduced in both the Senate and House of Representatives in March of 2014 by Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Jason Chaffetz respectively. While they sat untouched for most of the year there was a flurry of late activity surrounding the bill during the Lame Duck session.

RAWA is almost universally believed to be written by Sheldon Adelson, and the bill has been called crony capitalism at its worst by political heavyweights like former Texas Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul.

First there was the announcement of a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee which was later scrapped. Then the real speculation began as the potential for RAWA being attached to the CRomnibus became a hot topic issue.

RAWA eventually fell by the wayside, purportedly ending when Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) personally phoned Sheldon Adelson to tell him RAWA would not be attached to the CRomnibus.

In what is a positive sign of changing times, RAWA met with a quick and severe rebuke from multiple sides, including Republican and Libertarian groups, as well as the usual cadre of iGaming supporters.

All that being said, barely two weeks into 2015 we already have several rumors and indications that RAWA will be reintroduced this year. Even though there isn’t a piece of must pass legislation to attach the measure to as was presented during the Lame Duck session of 2014, there is still plenty of reasons to take Adelson and his supporters efforts very seriously.

RAWA in 2015

For one thing, Adelson reportedly spent millions helping Republicans retain control of the House of Representatives and take over control of the Senate during the 2014 mid-term elections – The Washington Post reported Adelson spent $93 million during the 2012 election cycle.

When asked about RAWA being reintroduced in 2015, Poker Players Alliance Executive Director John Pappas emphatically stated to PocketFives.com earlier this year that, “I have no doubt that RAWA-type legislation will be introduced in this Congress.”

Pappas should know, as he told P5’s, “We are on Capitol Hill every day trying to meet with people who cosponsored the bill previously as well as members of relevant committees to educate them on the issues.”

It should be noted that Pappas was one of the first to report that RAWA had been officially scrapped during the Lame Duck session.

Another clear indication that RAWA is alive and well came during Attorney General Nominee Loretta Lynch’s confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday. During the hearing, Senator Lindsey Graham, who sponsored RAWA in 2014, asked Lynch point blank about online gambling, specifically her thoughts on the 2011 Wire Act opinion that Sheldon Adelson so desperately wants to undo.

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