Conservative Groups: Adelson’s Proposed Online Gambling Ban Is “An Assault On Our Federalist System”

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A powerful coalition of conservative groups today issued a strong rebuke to the Sheldon Adelson-backed attempt to push the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) through Congress during the lame duck session.

The letter, signed by Grover Norquist and representatives from eleven other organizations, including the American Conservative Union and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, characterizes RAWA as “an assault on our Federalist system.”

Read a copy of the letter here.


While RAWA supporters contend that this legislation is a simple fix to 53 year old Wire Act legislation on sports betting, RAWA attempts to apply federal sports betting regulations to online gambling – even though this legislation was created decades before the invention of the internet.

The states have always led the way in regulating gambling and that is why a diverse coalition of organizations including the Democratic Governors Association, National Governors Association, National Conference of State Legislatures and numerous civil libertarian, free market and conservative groups have already spoken out against this legislation.

Regardless of your personal opinions on gambling, we encourage you to preserve the authority of the states to prohibit or regulate gambling as the 10th Amendment directs.

The letter continues on to summarize Michelle Minton’s excellent treatment of the historical context of the Wire Act and concludes by asserting that “State governments are more than capable” of deciding how to best approach online gambling.

Full text here.

The news was first reported by the Washington Post.

The end of RAWA for the lame duck?

As the Post notes, opposition from the coalition of conservative groups puts RAWA supporters in a difficult position, especially when paired with Ron Paul’s public criticism of RAWA earlier in the week.

RAWA now faces a diverse coalition of groups looking to defeat the measure based on a variety of complaints, and a limited time frame in which those hoping to advance the measure can do so.

And the public, media and political attention now trained on the issue thanks to the high-profile push back will complicate any plans for a backroom deal to advance RAWA.

List of signatories

  • Grover Norquist, President Americans for Tax Reform
  • Larry Hart, Director of Government Relations, American Conservative Union
  • Steve Pociask, President American Consumer Institute
  • John Tate, President Campaign for Liberty
  • Lawson Bader, President, Competitive Enterprise Institute
  • Andrew Langer, President, Institute for Liberty
  • Gov. Gary Johnson, Honorary Chairman, Our America Initiative
  • David Williams, President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance
  • Katie McAuliffe, , Executive Director, Digital Liberty
  • Jeff Mazzella, President, Center for Individual Freedom
  • Tom Giovanetti, President, Institute for Policy Innovation
  • Andrew F. Quinlan, President, Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Read the full text of the letter here.

- Chris is the publisher of Grove also serves as a consultant to various stakeholders in the regulated market for online gambling in the United States.
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