In the last couple of weeks, we’ve learned that the main man in the US Senate championing Sheldon Adelson‘s (pictured) legislation to ban internet gambling, Lindsey Graham, has never sent an e-mail. We’ve also learned that Adelson’s camp was a no-show at the Conservative Political Action Conference to debate the merits of i-gaming. Are those championing Adelson’s Restoring America’s Wire Act, or RAWA, just doing it for campaign contributions and political favors? Is it all about the money?
We’ll start with Adelson’s camp being no-showing the Conservative Political Action Conference. According to PPA Vice President Rich TheEngineerMuny, the American Conservative Union, which organized CPAC, reached out to Adelson’s camp, which never responded. “They were a no-show,” Muny told PocketFives. “[PPA Executive Director]John Pappas gave a speech on the topic instead. There was an empty chair next to him like Clint Eastwood at the GOP convention in 2008.”
Then there’s Lindsey Graham, who told the news program “Meet the Press” that he has never sent an email in his life. Yes, the man championing i-gaming legislation has never sent an email. “We got the same thing from [Adelson spokesperson]Andy Abboud, who said he got lost when he was being taught how geo-location worked. Some of these lawmakers think that you go to a website, click a box saying you’re 21, and you’re off and running with your parents’ credit card. That couldn’t be further from the truth.”
According to Muny, Graham being inept at technology does not hurt his influence on the issue. Graham is exploring running for president and, according to Muny, “will be looking for Adelson to donate to his campaign and look on it favorably” in exchange for helping to ban i-gaming.
Then there’s Harry Reid (pictured). Now the Senate Minority Leader, Reid could push RAWA in exchange for Adelson not donating to Reid’s opponent. We already know Reid favors RAWA, but wants a poker carve-out. You can see how this issue might just be all about the money. As Muny put it, “All you have to look at is how much people cared about this issue from 2011 until Adelson got involved; hardy anyone spoke about it. Now, it seems to be a high-priority issue with expedited hearings.”
Are there any lawmakers who genuinely care about internet gambling for reasons other than campaign contributions and political favors? Muny singled out Joe Barton and Pete Sessions. The two Texans “have come out in favor of our position,” said Muny. “I don’t think there’s any financial windfall for Barton or Sessions. On the pro-RAWA side, there are only a few people who have any record of caring about this before Adelson like Jason Chaffetz and Dianne Feinstein. Graham had no concerns before Adelson.”
If we took the net worth of every PocketFives member and added it together, we’d still be dwarfed by Adelson’s war chest, so what can us lowly poker players do? Social media, said Muny: “The more we do to keep lawmakers in the know, the better. Adelson’s camp is expert when it comes to lobbying, but they’re not skilled at doing anything on social media. That’s an area we have an edge at. All of us need to get behind PPA too because we can bring lobbyists to Capitol Hill and demonstrate there’s another side to the debate.”
Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest poker legislation news.