Witness Panel for RAWA Hearing updated in favor of Online Poker Players
The RAWA Hearing originally scheduled for March 5, 2015 held ominous undertones as the original witness panel was stacked in favor of Sheldon Adelson and his crusade to banish regulated online gambling in the US. Now set for Thursday, March 25, a fifth witness is scheduled to appear, helping to better balance the perspective views on the legislation.
RAWA—or by its official term, The Restoration of America’s Wire Act—is a federal bill that was scripted to reverse the DOJs 2011 opinion of the 1961 Wire Act, making it possible for states to regulate online poker and casino gambling. Funded by Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson, RAWA seeks to prohibit iGaming throughout the United States.
The RAWA Hearing (also said to be funded by Adelson) will take place in front of the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations, which just so happens to seat Representative Jason Chaffetz, who re-introduced RAWA earlier this year. The original panel of speakers for the hearing was set to include just four witnesses, three of which would heavily favor passage of the online gambling ban.
According to the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the winter storm that delayed the original RAWA Hearing was a blessing in disguise, because it gave the online poker community time to make their voices heard. As such, a fifth witness, Andrew Moylan, was added to the panel.
Official RAWA Hearing Witness List Updated
- Mr. John Warren Kindt
- Professor Emeritus of Business Administration at University of Illinois School of Law
- Mr. Les Bernal
- National Director of Stop Predatory Gambling Foundation
- Mr. Michael K. Fagan
- Adjunct Professor of Law at Washington University School of Law
- Mr. Andrew Moylan
- Executive Director and Senior Fellow of R Street Institute
- Ms. Parry Aftab
- Executive Director of Wired Safety
John Kindt poses the biggest threat to the RAWA Hearing for his distinct pattern of radical statements opposing gambling. He has frequently misinterpreted the results of research by the National Gambling Impact Study Commission (NGISC), and despite being called on it by the American Gaming Association numerous times, he continues to do so. No doubt, his testimony will make every effort to undermine the proficiency of iGaming regulatory systems.
Les Bernal and Michael Fagan won’t speak in favor of online poker, but they have historically based their congressional testimonies on facts (unlike Mr. Kindt). While they do not oppose RAWA, their findings should be based on the regulatory capabilities of online poker and casino systems already present in Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey.
Parry Aftab was the Democratic choice to speak at the RAWA Hearing, and will lend a positive voice for the online poker community. She has long advocated internet gambling as a means to protect consumers, and is expected to present a strong, highly educated argument opposing RAWA on Thursday.
Andrew Moylan is the newest addition to the witness panel, and could be the game-saving pinch hitter for online poker advocates. The R Street Institute is a group of research experts with a libertarian attitude. Mr. Moylan is expected to rebuke RAWA as a violation of state’s rights; the number one argument against the federal legislation, even by those who do not support or oppose online gambling.
John Pappas, Director of the PPA, was tremendously pleased to see Moylan’s name added to the witness list for this week’s RAWA Hearing. “I don’t know Andrew, but I’m familiar with R Street and they have a good reputation for focusing on federalism and 10th amendment issues on a whole lot of subject matters,” said Pappas. I think they will be very credible and a good voice at the hearing.”