The ever-looming date is finally here. The House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations will hear testimony at the RAWA Hearing this afternoon on Capitol Hill. The results of today’s debate could shape the future of online poker in America. The PPA has done everything they can to fight for the protection of poker players and states’ rights, but they aren’t done just yet.
Thanks to the severe winter weather forecast that postponed the original date for the RAWA hearing (March 5, 2015), the Poker Players Alliance was afforded enough time to organize a reconnaissance mission. Several major goals were accomplished in the last week, including the arrangement of internet poker briefings set to take place on Capitol Hill this morning, prior to the start of today’s RAWA hearing.
Online Poker briefings on Capitol Hill today
In a weekly update on the PPA website Thursday, it was announced that the “PPA has organized a series of technical briefings to be held on Capitol Hill on March 25th.” The briefings will feature Caesars Interactive, which operates the regulated online poker sites of WSOP.com in Nevada and New Jersey, and GeoComply, a company that provides geo-location services to authorized websites in regulated iGaming states.
Rich Muny, Vice President of Player Relations for the PPA, said the briefings “will inform senators, congressmen, governors, and media on how online poker technology ensures that players are physically located in an authorized jurisdiction, that players are of age, etc. We look forward to this opportunity to share the truth.”
Andrew Moylan joins RAWA Hearing Witness List
When organization of the briefings was first announced by Rich Muny, the witness panel had been tentatively announced, and it wasn’t looking good for online poker enthusiasts in the US. In fact, only four witnesses were expected to testify, and three of them were heavy hitters for Team Adelson (i.e. Sheldon Adelson, CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp and billionaire backer of RAWA).
Since then, due to extensive efforts from online poker players, industry leaders and the PPA, among others, the witness panel for the RAWA Hearing was updated (much to the disappointment of RAWA’s introducer and House Subcommittee member Rep. Jason Chaffetz, I’m sure.) A fifth witness, Andrew Moylan of libertarian think tank R Street Institute, will testify at the debate later today, lending a strong voice for advocates of online poker.
PPA Director John Pappas submits Testimony
John Pappas, Director of the PPA, would love to have been chosen as a witness for today’s RAWA Hearing, but as difficult as it was to get any online poker advocates on the panel, that certainly wasn’t going to happen. Since he can’t testify in person, the written testimony of John Pappas was submitted on behalf of the Poker Players Alliance.
“While I am not formally testifying at today’s hearing, I am pleased to serve as a resource to help you better understand how Internet poker and Internet gaming are already being regulated effectively in the United States and throughout the world,” wrote Pappas.
He goes on to explain how RAWA contradicts the PPA’s efforts to protect consumers and hold operators accountable, calling the legislation a “misguided prohibition that seeks to impose a federal ban on states’ ability to govern within their borders.”
16 pages of heavily detailed facts later, all of which support state’s right to regulate online poker regulation, Pappas urges Congress to reject the online gambling ban. “If enacted, RAWA would take a law aimed at stopping criminals, and turn it into a law that would criminalize states.”
The RAWA Hearing will take place today at 4:00pm ET in room 2237 of the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D. C.