Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt Says He Will Support RAWA

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt said this week he would support Restore America’s Wire Act, the proposed bill in the United States Congress which would ban online gambling on a nationwide basis. Adam Laxalt’s said he would sign a letter supporting RAWA, if it would influence members of Congress to act.

Laxalt’s opinion contradicts the current Nevada state law. Nevada is one of three U.S. states to have legalized online gambling. At present, the state supports online poker, but makes it illegal for online casinos to accept real money from Nevada-based players.

Restoration of America’s Wire Act

Restoration of America’s Wire Act has not received much traction in the US Congress, but it continues to be debated, because it is the brainchild of Sheldon Adelson, the world’s richest land-based casino executive. Adelson wants to ban all online gambling in the United States, because he says he wants to protect problem gamblers.

Adelson says online gambling presents a particular danger to American youths. In a public discussion in October 2014, the chairman of the Las Vegas Sands discussed how his grandchildren seemed to be able to do anything with their smartphones. From this information, he imputes that underage children have the ability to hack their parents’ password or beat an online casino’s age verification software.

Portrayals of Sheldon Adelson’s Motives

Opponents of the RAWA have sought to portray Sheldon Adelson as a hypocrite who is trying to use his clout to ban potential rivals to his gaming empire. They argue that no one had made more money off of problem gamblers than Sheldon Adelson, so his concern about the depredations of Internet gaming ring false.

Most national politicians who have discussed RAWA are not in support. At one time, a prominent website which covers US legislation suggested the RAWA had between a 1% and 7% chance of passing. Yet several RAWA supporters have attained new levels of prominence in Washington DC in the past year, while Sheldon Adelson’s influence is set to peak in 2016, as he spends $100 million of the money he won from gamblers to support Republicans in the 2016 US Presidential Election cycle.

Gov. Brian Sandoval Blasts Laxalt

Some prominent politicians inside Nevada, including Laxalt’s own boss, are livid that the state’s AG would sign such a letter. On Ralston Live, a local TV show, Adam Laxalt said he would sign a letter circulating among state attorney generals that would call for support of Restore America’s Wire Act.

That incensed Gov. Brian Sandoval, who appointed Laxalt to his position. Sandoval helped pass the online poker law of Nevada. Later, he signed an interstate online poker compact with Delaware. Sandoval has supported online gambling from the beginning.

Sandoval Quote

After hearing about the AG’s defection, Gov. Brian Sandoval said, “I am very concerned that anyone representing the state’s legal interests would speak out against current state law in our leading industry. At its core, this is a state’s rights issue and I disagree with the Attorney General that a federal government one-size-fits-all solution is in the best interest of Nevada.

The governor refers to a common complaint with RAWA: that it tramples state’s right. If the federal government can tell a state how to govern online gambling, then it would have the precedent to ban land-based gambling, too. Get the wrong candidate in the White House or the wrong legislative mix in Congress and the billions of dollars worth of casinos on the Las Vegas Strip could be declared illegal overnight. Yet Adam Laxalt wants to hand that power over to the central government.

Vast Expansion of Washington’s Power

The state’s rights issue goes well beyond gambling laws, though. RAWA sets a precedent which could be applied to gun control laws, abortion law, health care issues, or taxation itself. That is why libertarian conservatives like Rand Paul, Ron Paul, and Grover Norquist have come out against Restore America’s Wire Act.

After receiving such a backlash from his own party, it is uncertain whether Adam Laxalt will continue to support RAWA or he’ll back off the stance publicly. The attorney general insists he has had no contact with Sheldon Adelson, and his stance on the issue are open and honest. The obvious charge by skeptics is the attorney general has political ambitions and Adelson’s known largesse to the campaigns of those who support his policies is well-known in the state. Gaming laws typically are seen as a matter of conscience in politics, and politicians are allowed by their political party to vote their conscience on such issues.

About Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller has been an online writer for 14 years. He worked for Small World Marketing for a decade, where he covered topics like gaming, sports, movies, and how-to guides. Since 2014, he has blogged about US and international gambling news on BestOnlineCasinos.com, USPokerSites.com, and LegalUSPokerSites.com

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