South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham pulled a slick move by sneaking language that would ban online poker into the Appropriations Bill, which is meant to outline Senate spending. In addition to banning online poker, Graham’s excerpt would also ban all other forms of iGaming in the United States.
Following his failed Presidential bid, it seems like Graham has nothing to lose and decided to sink to a new level of cronyism. He’s often been linked to casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who wants online gaming banned because he fears it would interfere with his Las Vegas Sands empire.
Graham is one of the staunchest proponents of Adelson’s Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), which seeks to classify iGaming as a banned form of interstate gambling. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), another failed Presidential candidate, and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) also supported RAWA while taking donations from Adelson.
While it’s pretty obvious that all of these crooked politicians are pushing RAWA for the benefit of Adelson, there is cause for concern because this is exactly how the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) became law. It was slipped into the SAFE Port Act just hours before President George W. Bush signed the legislation in late 2006.
Luckily, a Blasting News columnist named Dean Chambers believes that Graham’s underhanded move to ban online gaming will soon be shut down. Here’s one excerpt from his column:
“The bill goes next to the House Appropriations Committee, whose chairman is Rep. John Culberson (R-TX), who can remedy this issue by removing the language before the bill heads to a Conference Committee and ultimately the White House for the president’s signature into law. Advocates of federalism and the Tenth Amendment are strongly hoping that is what will happen. This will be bad news for Graham and Adelson, and their effort to shut down state regulated internet-based gambling, and great news for advocates of limited government.”
Chambers goes on to blast Graham for pulling such a tactic just to help out his campaign backer, Adelson.
And he’s exactly right, given that three states have already legalized iGaming, and California, New York and Pennsylvania are moving closer towards doing so. Then we have Tennessee and Indiana, which have approved fantasy sports betting.
So one casino billionaire shouldn’t outweigh the desires of state governments to make their own decision on iGaming.