The sub-committee for the Restoration of the Wire Act took place yesterday and while online poker proponents hoped the hearing would display a fair discussion on the topic of online gaming, the hearing would actually take a negative turn. The overall theme of the hearing was biased towards the RAWA bill, despite the fact that the democratic process is supposed to be fair and unbiased on the subject at hand. Inaccurate information was presented that placed online gaming in a negative light.
During the hearing, several aspects of online gaming were discussed including technology that is used to create a safe environment for gamblers. The witnesses of the hearing as well as committee members attacked such technology yet had no experts on hand to back up their claims. Gambling regulators were also attacked, yet there were no regulators on hand to defend themselves.
Points were pushed in favor of RAWA without any real credibility or by using underhanded information. Take for example Michael Fagan’s comments of online gaming in regards to crime and money laundering. Fagan mentioned reports of organized crime using online gaming to their benefit but failed to mention that such activity took place in a non-regulated environment. To counter Fagan’s point, Perry Aftab stated that Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey, even European models of regulation for gambling could be used as an example to show how criminal problems are nonexistent.
In attendance during the hearing, Executive Director of the Poker Players Alliance, John Pappas, seemed to put it best when he released a statement on the hearing and issue at hand. Pappas stated as reported by PocketFives:
“Today’s hearing was about one thing – checking the box to advance Mr. Adelson’s bill. While the PPA has always encouraged a national discussion on the value of regulating online gambling, constructing a hearing at the behest of a political donor is an unfortunate waste of everyone’s time. This bill should die today so members of the Committee can focus on more pressing matters and not on legislation that will deny states the ability to protect its citizens.”
“Never in the history of US internet gaming legislation has Congress ever considered overriding states’ rights to regulate online gambling within their own borders and yet Mr. Adelson’s bill would do just that. If an unelected billionaire is granted the power to rewrite history by imposing a federal prohibition, the future is bleak for every American who values their internet freedom.”
The meeting pushed the limits by deliberating trying to place fear in the minds of those who are easily swayed, with negative connotations towards online gaming as well as misuse of information. Without properly providing the facts, those presiding over the hearing and witnesses involved are basically running Adelson’s agenda without allowing every aspect of the subject to be discussed, which goes against the meaning of the democratic process.
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