Published on March 10, 2015 in Industry News

US flagIt's no secret that American casino mogul, Sheldon Adelson, has little love for online gambling. Adelson has done everything in his power over the last few years to block online gambling in America and has made it very clear that he considers online gambling a "cancer".

Sheldon Adelson is also no stranger to putting his money where is mouth is. In 2012, Adelson poured more than $90 million into Republican presidential campaigns.

He's also donated millions to governors and political committees which support him in his own campaign against online gambling.

He considers the online gambling industry a threat to the economic health of the gambling industry where he gained and built his fortune.

A federal bill that Adelson has put a lot of financial and political force behind, the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (also known as RAWA), was recently reintroduced for the 2015 Congressional session.

The simple and relatively short bill has the sole purpose of banning online gambling, but has many confused as it seems to be doing exactly the opposite.

Online Gambling Exemptions

In the 400-word document describing the bill, there are exemptions for many different forms of online gambling. Billions of dollars are spent on these forms of gambling every year and it makes little sense that they would exempted from this bill.

The exemptions include any form of online gambling that falls within the definition of "bet or wager" in the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (or UIGEA).

The broad guidelines of this term means that online fantasy betting, daily fantasy sports and any other future gambling product that may fall within these parameters. There are very gambling products that won't be exempt from the bill if guidelines are broad enough to let daily fantasy sports slip through the cracks.

The exemptions also include the million dollar betting business of online horse betting. Any betting seen as "charitable" gambling, a multi-billion dollar industry in and of itself, is also exempt. The Act also allows closed-circuit online gambling offerings (such as the products offered to Adelson’s guest at the Venetian in Las Vegas). 

While is seems that Adelson has a problem with online gambling, he has no problem with keeping his own business and interests safe from the Act he so fully supports.

What about illegal gambling sites?

Everyone can agree that the biggest problem with online gambling are the numerous illegal offshore online gambling sites, however the RAWA is completely silent on the subject.

The Act does not mention any form of funding or support for cracking down on these illegal sites which is the most utilized form of online gambling in America.

Banned by the RAWA

While illegal online gambling is not mentioned, the banning of legal online gambling sites in many states throughout America is addressed in the Act. 

The online poker and casino industries in Nevada, New Jersey and Delware - which provide hundreds of jobs - could be shut overnight. Online lottery programs would also be affected seeing states such as Georgia, Illinois and Michigan in serious trouble. 

The gambling percentage of those combined states is so small that it is merely a blip on the radar compared to the rest of the country. Everything else, gambling issues that many find important are completely ignored by the bill, leaving Americans wondering whether or not Sheldon Adelson really wants online gambling banned at all.