The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) which boasts over a million members, commented on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s hearing “A Casino in Every Smartphone – Law Enforcement Implications” that discussed banning online gaming in the US under the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA).
“Let’s be honest, [the] OGR hearing is taking place to fulfill the wishes of Sheldon Adelson, not because of any law enforcement implications or concerns,” said John Pappas, Executive Director of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA).
These barbed words are in reference to the well known fact that Shedlon Adelson is one of the US’s biggest political contributors and he has committed to spend “whatever it takes” to defeat online gambling in the US. The hearing has been seen by the poker industry as a whole as nothing more than political grandstanding
Pappas goes on to say: “In fact, if OGR Chairman Jason Chaffetz succeeds in his effort to impose a ban on online gaming, he will further encourage the growth of the underground, unregulated industry and make it impossible for law enforcement to control it. Instead, he should be focused on fostering the success of existing regulation which has created transparent and accountable markets in three U.S. states.”
A view that is shared by many from within the industry.
However, Congressman Chaffetz stance is that FBI response letters from 2009 and 2013 make the case that online gaming should be banned. But logic tells a different story. The letters actually make a case for licensing and regulating online gaming as they highlight the vulnerabilities of an unregulated marketplace.
Finally a Knowledgeable Witness
For the first time, organizers invited a witness to testify that actually has knowledge of the online gaming industry.
Nevada State Senator and former Gaming Control Board Chairman Mark Lipparelli brought a wealth of knowledge to the hearing having presided over the Nevada regulatory body that researched the global application of online gaming and implemented some of the strongest and most respected standards in the world.
As part of the process of educating lawmakers on how online gaming works, Lipparelli had the unenviable task of correcting the misinformation that was being presented by the others.
Many industry observers considered the hearing to be an utter failure for proponents of RAWA, but as is typical of politicians, Chaffetz presented his closing remarks as if all of his reasons for promoting the legislation had not been destroyed by the facts. It seems that in spite of the facts, Adelson’s money will continue to advance the narrative that suits his business needs.
However, not satisfied with just a war of words, the PPA has created a wonderfully satirical infographic that pokes fun at the hearings title: “A Casino in Every Smartphone” happily pointing out the “crony capitalism” that is blatantly being displayed.
It gives us all an easy 4 step guide on how to buy a congressional hearing.