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Poker Community Strengthens Defense During RAWA Delay; Hearing Set for Wednesday

RAWA Hearing

As much as we'd like the House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on the Restoration of America's Wire Act to be delayed indefinitely, that was never a possibility. The hearing for the Internet gambling ban was bought and paid for by Las Vegas Sands owner Sheldon Adelson, after all.

However, the three week-delay for inclement weather did prove useful for the online poker community. Backlash to the original witness list helped get a fifth witness added in Andrew Moylan, the executive director of R Street Institute, a conservative and libertarian think tank. The hearing in the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations was rescheduled for Wednesday at 4 p.m. EST.

Moylan is expected to speak out against RAWA as a violation of state rights, just what Poker Players Alliance executive director John Pappas noted was lacking at the hearing when the witness list was first leaked.

"I don't know Andrew, but I'm familiar with R Street and they have a good reputation for focusing on federalism and 10th amendment issues on a whole lot of subject matters. I think they will be very credible and a good voice at the hearing."

The delay also allowed the PPA time to design a technology briefing to present to Congressional members and staff prior to the hearing. Pappas, along with representatives from GeoComply and Caesars Entertainment, will show how geolocation, age-verification and issues of anti-money laundering and player security are currently being addressed in regulated areas such as New Jersey.

"It's something we were trying to put together in advance of the last hearing, and quite frankly the postponement helped us pull it together," Pappas said. "Rather than sitting here having a he-said/she-said conversation about whether Internet gaming can be regulated, we will be demonstrating how it is regulated."

The presentation is titled "How Does Technology Ensure Online Gaming Compliance?" and will begin for Congressional members and staff at 1 p.m. EST, with two separate briefings planned for the media and governors' offices. Basically it will pre-counter all the fear-mongering assertions lead sponsor Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) will be parroting from Adelson at the hearing three hours later.

"It would be really nice if Mr. Chaffetz shows up," Pappas said, "but I have a hard time believing he'll fit this one on his calendar."

Pappas has also submitted a 16-page written testimony for the hearing on behalf of the PPA that goes in depth on industry regulation, the history of the Wire Act and how gaming law and regulation (other than sports betting) has always been left to the states.

The oral testimonies heard Wednesday surely will not be as reasonable, especially not from professional gambling critic John Kindt. PokerNews previously explained his past and detailed the other three witnesses here. In addition to Chaffetz, the 16-member subcommittee includes five RAWA co-sponsors, including vice-chairman Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.).

The hearing will take place in Room 2237 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Witness testimony and video may be available on the subcommittee website.

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