Fierce Debate over Interstate Online Gambling in the US

RAWA online gambling in the US

Jason Chaffetz’s Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) has been reintroduced in the Congress’ both chambers.

Backed by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the RAWA seeks to “restore the long-standing United States policy that the Wire Act prohibits all forms of Internet gambling”. It would override the opinion of the Department of Justice, which in 2011 declared that the 1961 wire act is valid only for online sports betting in the US. This interpretation has led to the regulation and legalization of interstate online gambling markets in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware.

First reintroduced on February 4, the bill instigated a heated debate in the Senate. Its main supporter, Jason Chaffetz, a member of the Republican Party, is the US representative for Utah’s 3rd congressional district. The December 9th hearing was titled “A Casino in Every Smartphone – Law Enforcement Implications.” Despite the dramatic and fear mongering name choice, the hearing has ended with a rather disappointing outcome for the pro-ban group.

RAWA and the future of interstate online gambling in the US

“Now, anything connected to the Internet, desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, no matter your age, is becoming a casino,” stated the obvious, Chaffetz.
“I’ve got a problem with that. I think the American people have a problem with that,” he continued. Directing his speech towards interstate online gambling in the US, Chaffetz added that “nobody with a straight face is going to come before the American people and say, ‘Well, the Internet, it’s just for the people of Nevada,’ or ‘It’s just for the people of Rhode Island.’ You kidding me?”

FBI’s Joseph Campbell testified that terrorists are benefiting from online gambling in the US. However, he could not present any precedents to prove his point. Later, these and the other statements of the pro-ban party were ripped to shreds and turned against them.

“I have no doubt that you believe in your testimony, but I do have to point out that parts of your testimony are simply wrong,” hit back California Rep. Ted Lieu, adding that “the notion that you can’t pinpoint location is simply incorrect. Look at the GPS on your smartphone. It will tell you where you are relatively accurately.”

After such comebacks, Chaffetz was pretty quiet during the second part of the hearing. At the end, Chaffetz only repeated his crushed pro-ban arguments. 10 months after its introduction, the RAWA has only 25 sponsors in the House.

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