Monday September 28,2015 : BEWARE R.A.W.A. LITE!
Faced with failure, RAWA supporters may try a flanking move.
Online gambling observers closely monitoring the progress of Sheldon Adelson's Restoration of America's Wire Act in Congress have warned that an inability to gain practical traction as an election year approaches may result in its supporters trying for an alternative strategy….imposing a two year moratorium preventing individual states from legalising the pastime whilst a rather nebulous sounding Congressional "study" is carried out.
It's certainly one way to slow the momentum of online gambling legalization as several US states continue to consider the possibilities, but it remains an affront to states' rights and is unlikely to appeal to most politicians sensitive to federal government overreach.
The moratorium option surfaced among the lobbying fraternity around the middle of this year, presumably following the realisation that RAWA was unlikely to achieve the necessary backing in yet another Congressional session.
However, more recent media reports indicate that it is now being vigorously touted in the corridors of Congress by lobbyists no doubt well paid by Adelson or his Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling.
The media has exhibited some humour in dubbing the change in tactics ‘RAWA Lite', but the threat remains serious as a perhaps more palatable option for wavering politicians uncomfortable with Adelson's insistence on an online gambling ban that tramples the Tenth Amendment rights of individual states.
The proposed moratorium has apparently not yet been fully drafted or detailed, but some reports have revealed that lobbyists are suggesting it may be possible to exempt states that have already authorised online State Lottery and/or casino and poker activity – including New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware – in an attempt to defuse likely fierce opposition from that quarter.
Other reports have drawn comparisons with the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) which grandfathered Nevada in for sports betting, but before implementation required that all states be granted a window of opportunity to enact their own laws. Montana, Delaware and Oregon were allowed exemption for parlay-only betting.
The interesting hypothetical argument put forward is that in a similar scenario (were RAWA Lite to pass) states could have a unique opportunity to pass intra state legalization laws (including player sharing compacts), ironically delivering a result quite the opposite of the intentions of RAWA Lite's supporters!