Wednesday December 9,2015 : ATTORNEY GENERALS' SUPPORT FOR R.A.W.A. WANING?
Only eight state AGs support the latest attempt to marshal enforcement support for controversial online gambling bill.
Poker Players Alliance executive director John Pappas tweeted this week that only 8 state Attorney Generals have signed up to support a call to Congress to vote the Restoration of America's Wire Act into federal law.
That’s a significant drop from the 15 who signed a similar initiative last year and one that falls well short of the 36 names required by the National Association of Attorneys General before it will recognise a petition as a “Statement of Policy” requiring its support.
InfoPowa readers will recall that earlier this year Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster and South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson circulated a petition among their peers in other states, asking them to support a call for the approval by Congress of RAWA.
The call has failed spectacularly to gain traction, with only the following AGs signing up, suggesting that perhaps the majority of their colleagues are alarmed by the impact RAWA could have on the legislative rights and authority of their respective states:
Maine Attorney General Janet Mills
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster
Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson
Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt*
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson
South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley
Nevada AG Adam Laxalt's decision to support the call for a ban on online gambling when his state is one of three that have legalised online activity is curious, and has attracted criticism from powerful Nevada figures like governor Brian Sandoval and Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett.
This week Laxalt appeared to be justifying his support by writing independently to the leaders of the United States House and Senate Judiciary Committees, explaining that his main beef with the current situation is that the watershed decision by the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel in 2011 (noting that the Wire Act applies only to sports betting – thus opening the door to online activity by state lotteries) was unilaterally presented without wider consultation.
He therefore feels that there is a need for "…Congress to review and opine on the reach and application of the Wire Act," but additionally believes that it is "…incumbent upon the policymakers of Congress to protect current and future technological innovation of licensed and regulated gaming-related devices, table games, accounting, financial, and player reward systems, as well as other systems and networks central to the success of land-based casino resorts, from any prohibition that may result from overly broad amendment language to the Wire Act of 1961."
AGs who signed last year's petition (which also failed) but are not present on the 2015 list include:
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne
Florida Attorney General Pamela Jo Bondi
Hawaii Attorney General David Louie
Kansas Attorney General Dereck Schmidt
Montana Attorney General Tim Fox
North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes
Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell
Wyoming Attorney General Peter Michael
Guam Attorney General Lenny Rapadas
Respected online gambling journalist Steve Ruddock points out that the decline in support for RAWA is even more dramatic if one looks at a related attempt to garner National Association of Attorneys General support back in 2007, when an attempt was made to get AGs to rail against Barney Frank's proposal to legalise and regulate online gambling in the United States.
That initiative attracted 43 AGs in support of a petition expressing "grave concern" on Frank's proposed and ultimately unsuccessful legalization