A hearing on the Restoration of America’s Wire Act, also known as RAWA, bill has been scheduled for March 26, according to a pro-poker lobbying group called Poker Players’ Alliance. The bill, if passed, would immediately make all regulated online gambling illegal, including poker. The bill was to be heard earlier this month but severe winter weather necessitated rescheduling of the hearing. Now, however, winter weather will not be able to ride to the rescue, and spring, it seems, doesn’t like online poker.
Republican Jason Chaffetz’s bill will be discussed by the sub-committee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, with online poker adversaries expected to be called on as witnesses for the hearing, unlike previous hearings, which were mostly neutral. But, the official list of witnesses has not yet been revealed. The latest hearing on this issue happened in late 2013.
As of now, the official position on the Wire Act, which was passed in 1961, with regard to online gambling is that it is restricted only to online betting on sport activities. Passing the RAWA, however, would include online gambling of all forms, like lottery; RAWA, though, doesn’t seek to restrict betting online when it comes to horse racing.
While the bill was initially introduced by Chaffetz, along with Lindsey Graham, in March 2014, it seems now that the bill, which was reintroduced by Chaffetz to the 2015 session, also has the support of billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who is not only a major donor to the Republican Party, but also is the CEO of a corporation that operates a casino in Las Vegas.
However, with elections coming up next year, it is very unlikely that the bill will be passed, or even come to the floor. There are many groups that are opposed to the bill and the chances of it getting past the House are next to nothing.