Pennsylvania Lawmaker Pushes Back Against Anti-Online Gaming Bill

Pennsylvania State Representative Mike Sturla has issued a House Resolution urging Congress to vote against a bill which aims to ban online gambling at the federal level.

The legislation in the firing line, dubbed the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), was introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R – SC) and Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R – Utah) earlier this year and is the brainchild of billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

RAWA seeks to prohibit Internet gambling countrywide by reinterpreting The Wire Act, a law originally put into place to curb the Mafia’s growing power in the 1960’s. While the Wire Act explicitly prohibits taking sports bets over the phone, some lawmakers later used it as a tool to ban all online gambling, crippling the industry in the US.

In 2011, however, the Department of Justice changed its opinion of the law and declared that the act only applied to online sports betting. That ruling gave individual states the green light to regulate Internet gambling, with Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada being the first to do so. Sheldon Adelson and his minions would like to reverse that progress and rewrite the Wire Act to explicitly ban all online gambling.

In his resolution, Sturla highlighted the negative consequences that RAWA could have for Pennsylvania’s economy. “A federal prohibition against Internet gaming would directly and negatively impact Pennsylvania by foreclosing the future potential of Internet gaming to generate tax revenue, to create economic and employment opportunities, including high-tech software jobs, and to foster valuable business ventures for Pennsylvania casinos,” he wrote.

“This prohibition would preclude the Commonwealth’s ability to create a legitimate online poker industry within its borders, drive the illegal operators out of business and protect consumers,” he added.

Sturla concluded by claiming that such a federal prohibition “would unduly ban Internet gaming and violate the rights and protections guaranteed to the states under the 10th amendment of the Constitution of the United States.”

<h2>Poker Players Alliance Applauds Resolution</h2>

The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) was quick to commend Sturla’s action in a press release. “The Pennsylvania legislature has made it clear that they are interested in the possibility of licensing and regulating online gambling in the state,” said PPA Executive Director John Pappas. “Therefore the passage of this resolution is critical to ensure the state has the right to move forward with legislation without unwarranted restrictions from the federal government.”