Some poker analysts deemed that RAWA was a dead issue for 2015. They must not have gotten the memo. It appears that HR 707, aka the Restoration of America’s Wire Act, will receive a new Congressional hearing on December 9th.
PPA Breaks News of Hearing After Claiming One Wasn’t Happening in 2015
Back in October, the Poker Player’s Alliance tweeted that “Chaffetz’s planned OGR hearing on iGaming will not happen this year.” Jason Chaffetz and company clearly changed their minds as a hearing is now back on.
The PPA broke the story on November 5th, tweeting that “The on again, off again iGaming hearing in Congress is now on again. OGR Comm chaired by Chaffetz expected to push RAWA on December 9th.”
This is the second hearing that RAWA had received in 2015. A March hearing was skewed favorably towards the bill with few anti-RAWA sentiments being presented.
Chaffetz Has Power to Hold Such Hearings Even Without Support
Haley Hintze of Flushdraw.net made an interesting observation regarding this hearing. As Jason Chaffetz is the head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, he has the ability to schedule hearings on matters that interest him whenever he desires.
Odds are that is the primary, or really only reason, that this bill is getting a second hearing. There seems to be very little real support among lawmakers that are not in Sheldon Adelson’s back pocket and state legislatures and organizations across the country are in opposition of RAWA.
Then Why Hold the Hearing – Or Is Something Brewing Behind the Scenes
The obvious question is why is this hearing being held if there is little chance that HR 707 will pass. First, there needs to be some payback for the campaign contributions given by Adelson to Chaffetz and others backed by his billions. This could just be a way to appease him while claiming “we tried but we just didn’t have the support.”
Another possibility could be that Chaffetz and company are seeing if an alternative proposal has enough support to move forward. For months, we have been hearing about an alternate proposal that wouldn’t ban online gambling but rather stop it while Congress conducts a study.
Bill as “RAWA-Lite,” online gambling expansion would be blocked for a period of two-years while Congress conducts a study on iGaming. States that have already legalized the activity would be able to still offer it but they could not offer anything new during this period.
The odds of RAWA passing are very slim and unless there’s something brewing regarding RAWA-Lite, chances are that next month’s hearing will merely serve as lip service to Adelson’s cause.
In the meantime, don’t forget to continue supporting online poker. The Poker Player’s Alliance holds regular initiatives and provides resources for contacting your Congressional representatives. Take a few minutes and remind them to support online poker or at least approach the matter with an open mind. Learn more on how you can support online poker at theppa.org.