It was just a few days ago that we reported that the Nevada Attorney General, Adam Laxalt, was signing on in support of the Restoration of America’s Wire Act. Laxalt announced he was joining the Attorneys General group effort to support the restoration of the Interstate Wire Act to its former glory, before the reinterpretation back in 2011 by the Department of Justice. Now, Laxalt has come forward with an explanation of sorts as to why he is showing support for the RAWA measure.
Yesterday, Laxalt outlined a few ‘nuances’ of his position. A letter was sent to congressional leaders, before today’s hearing that is scheduled with the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to give his point of view. When it was announced that Laxalt was in support of RAWA, major backlash came from the state, as Nevada is already involved in online gambling, which RAWA would do away with.
The hearing set for today is to discuss the Wire Act legislation, with a House and Senate bill looking to ban legalized online gambling, thusly shutting down the online poker business of Nevada, that has already been in operation for almost three years.
In his statements, Laxalt has said he wants Congress to review the Wire Act, written first in 1961 but account for the regulated and licensed gaming manufacturing and casino resort economy of Nevada. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval criticized Laxalt for his support of RAWA, with gaming regulators and casino officials also showing their disappointment.
In 2011, the opinion of the Department of Justice was that the Wire Act applied to sports betting only, not casino style games or poker. The change in the interpretation allowed the US states to approve online wagering, with Nevada deciding to go with online poker. In his letter, Laxalt did not cover online gaming legality but did state he disagreed with the process of the Justice Department in their opinion.
Laxalt stated: “The result…was more akin to lawmaking than to legal interpretation by executive branch attorneys. The impact of this particular interpretation went far beyond the narrow effect that such an interpretation would ordinarily have.”
With the bills in the Senate and House, the ruling by the Justice Department would be thrown out if passed. The legislation is currently backed by Sheldon Adelson, a casino owner, who has billions to spend in efforts to shut down the online gambling industry in the United States.
Additionally in his letter, Laxalt stated that lawmakers need to review the Wire Act and account for current and future technology. So far eight attorney generals have signed on for the support of RAWA and the hearing will be conducted later today.
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