RAWA Press Release Is A Laughable Document
Online Poker Report

RAWA Press Conference Announcement Riddled With Errors And Falsehoods

RAWA press release mistakes
This article may be outdated. Get the latest news on Views here.

We recently saw reports that a proposed congressional hearing on Sheldon Adelson’s Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) would not take place in 2015.

But Adelson’s allies have come up with the next best thing to keep the checks rolling in continue to push Adelson’s online gambling prohibition… a press conference.

Here’s the press release announcing the press conference:

MEDIA ADVISORY

Family Groups to Hold Press Conference on Internet Gambling
Rep. Chaffetz, J.C. Watts, among speakers

(Washington, D.C.)— On Wednesday, October 28, at 9:00am, the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG), will host a press conference to discuss H.R. 707, Restoration of America’s Wire Act. Bill sponsor Congressman Jason Chaffetz and former Rep. J.C. Watts will join numerous national CSIG members and allies to talk about the importance of protecting the right of families to keep online casinos out of their homes and off their children’s mobile devices.

Press Conference Details:

When: Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015 at 9 am

Location: Capitol Hill Club – McKinley Room
300 1st St., SE, Washington, D.C. 20003

Participating Groups:
Concerned Women for America
Let Freedom Ring
Focus on the Family
Frontiers of Freedom
Network of Politically Active Christians
Latino Coalition
Advance USA
Liberty Counsel Action

Background info:
Since it’s (sic) implantation (sic) in 1961, various Administrations have held that the federal Wire Act bars Internet gambling. That position has enjoyed bipartisan support from the public, their representatives and from the attorneys general of most states. But without any notice, consultation with Congress, or public input, the Justice Department on December 23, 2011, issued a legal opinion reversing that interpretation. The reversal unleashes the potential for an unregulated gambling industry to be imposed nationwide.

Congressman Chaffetz introduced H.R. 707 – Restoration of America’s Wire Act earlier this year.

I have to be honest, this could be my favorite press release over the past two years, as literally every sentence of the “Background Info” is inaccurate. Let’s start with the first sentence.

The opening salvo

“Since it’s implantation (sic) in 1961, various Administrations have held that the federal Wire Act bars Internet gambling.”

You know a press conference is going to be serious when the group can’t be bothered to proofread its announcement. “Implantation” – who wrote this thing, Mike Tyson?

But beyond the implantation, how about the foresight of administrations since 1961 to decide to preemptively ban Internet gambling some 30 years before it was created?

Hell, they applied the Wire Act to Internet gambling before the Internet even existed! That’s the kind of administration I could get behind.

While CSIG and its allies like to say that the Wire Act prohibited online gambling for 50 years, there was only a 10 year window (2002 to 2011) during which the DOJ applied the Wire Act to online gambling, and the 2011 opinion rightfully corrected that interpretation.

Hopefully sentence number two gets better. It can’t get worse, right? Right? Why is everybody looking at each other like that?

Sentence #2

“That position has enjoyed bipartisan support from the public, their representatives and from the attorneys general of most states.”

Sentence number two doesn’t have a laugh out loud error, but it does have an outright lie, unless by “attorneys general of most states,” they mean 15 states.

Sentence #3

Oh look, sentence number three is wrong too. What a surprise.

“But without any notice, consultation with Congress, or public input, the Justice Department on December 23, 2011, issued a legal opinion reversing that interpretation.”

I’m not sure what kind of notice they’d like considering New York and Illinois asked the DOJ to look into the matter in December of 2009, and the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel issued its opinion some 22 months later.

Here’s what the OLC’s opinion states (also it was issued in September of 2011, not December of 2011 as CSIG indicates in its press release):

“In December 2009, officials from the New York State Division of the Lottery and the Office of the Governor of the State of Illinois sought the Criminal Division’s views regarding their plans to use the Internet and out-of-state transaction processors to sell lottery tickets to adults within their states.”

So two years is without notice.

But for me, it’s sentence number four that really takes the cake.

Sentence #4

“The reversal unleashes the potential for an unregulated gambling industry to be imposed nationwide.”

Actually, the “reversal” allows states to legalize and regulate online gambling. A prohibition like RAWA allows unregulated online gambling to thrive.

Sign Up For The Grove Report – US Online Gambling Industry Insights Delivered To Your Inbox:
Steve Ruddock
- Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus for OPR is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.