RAWA Legislators Appeal to AG Holder to Ban Online Gambling

CongressSenator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and two of the co-sponsors for Sheldon Adelson’s his Restoration of Americas Wire Act (RAWA) bill are now petitioning U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to support their efforts to ban online gambling.

Along with Sen. Graham, Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) are asking the U.S. Attorney General and the DOJ to support their pending legislation. Amazingly, the letter contradicts itself several times in just a couple of paragraphs, not to mention being riddled with inaccuracies and hyperbole.

As Charlie Baileygates’ narrator in Me, Myself and Irene would say, “let’s begin at the beginning.”

The first sentence is patently false

The letter will probably be placed in the small round filing cabinet that sits beside Holder’s desk considering it starts off with one of the biggest lies in the online gambling debate:

“In December 2011, the Department of Justice issued a legal opinion reversing 50 years of interpretation of the Wire Act.”

Nothing says “I’m serious about this issue” like having no idea what the hell you’re talking about.

As I’ve said a bazillion times already, the DOJ’s first opinion on the Wire Act and online gambling occurred in 2002; the 2011 opinion reversed nine years of DOJ interpretation, not 50.

The Wire Act was written before the Internet, saying it was talking about online gambling is like saying the 2nd Amendment covers nuclear missiles and Star Trek phasers. But I’m sure a serious man like Eric Holder will just let that wildly inaccurate and fantastical opener slide.

Change is actually good

Also, can we stop intimating that the DOJ’s current opinion on the Wire Act as it pertains to online gambling will “fundamentally change” gambling for the worse? The new opinion was offered over two and a half years ago and if anyone can show me a noticeable negative change I’d love to see it.

You know what the fundamental change has been from regulated online gambling:

  • Minors are far less likely to have access to online gambling sites
  • Player funds are secure and properly segregated
  • States are receiving tax revenue from online operators
  • Jobs and a new industry are coming to America
  • Problem gambling programs are receiving more funding

It somehow gets worse

From there the letter only gets worse with its inaccuracies as the trio simply echo Sheldon Adelson talking points about casinos in every home and pocket –ignoring the not so small matter of unlicensed online gambling sites that are still available to everyone with a cell phone, just with zero consumer protections.

From there they make the absurd statement that a state legalizing online gambling within their borders somehow makes online gambling available in other states:

“We note that a number of states are now considering authorizing Internet gambling, which poses a significant threat to states that have banned or limited gambling.”

Really now? I challenge all three senators to play on one of New Jersey’s online poker sites when they return home for their vacation that is lasting the entire month of August.

So why are you soliciting the DOJ?

Perhaps the strangest statement in the letter is their assertion that, “We fully expect the Senate will act on our legislation this year,” which I would think makes petitioning for DOJ support somewhat unnecessary, so why send the letter?

Forget the fact that the RAWA bills have gotten zero attention from a Congress unable to pass a border bill, appoint an ambassador to Russia, and occupied by lawsuits against the president. I’m sure this bill is a no-brainer for them.

Still, in the very next sentence they contradict the first, saying, “With your help, and the backing of the DOJ, we are confident we can succeed in this effort.” But I thought you just said you fully expect the Senate to act on this already? What’s going on here?

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