Ron Paul Claims Adelson Using Political Influence To Criminalize Online Competitors

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Ron Paul Claims Adelson Using Political Influence To Criminalize Online Competitors

Online poker in the United States received two important pieces of good news recently. Firstly, the Sheldon Adelson-backed Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) has failed to secure US Congressional consideration during the current lame duck session, and secondly billionaire anti-online poker campaigner Adelson has faced mounting opposition from former Republican congressman Ron Paul (photo), as well as a block of conservative groups who claim the RAWA bill is an assault on conservative principles. As an excerpt of the lobbying groups’ letter reads:

“The real intention of this bill is to remove the state’s 10th Amendment authority to regulate online gambling as states see fit within their own borders.  We hope you will not allow RAWA to become yet another instance where the federal government expands its encroachment into the states’ purview.”

RAWA Introduced in March 2014

In March, the RAWA was introduced by Senator Lindsey Graham and Representative Jason Chaffetz in both houses of Congress, with the aim of reinstating an earlier understanding of the Wire Act forbidding all types of online gambling, rather than just sports betting as it is currently the case. However, many have questioned the intentions of the bill’s supporters, which seem to mirror that of Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson who for years has been claiming that online poker was “a threat to our society — a toxin which all good people ought to resist.”

Adelson Trying To Eliminate The Competition

The contradictory stance from a businessman who has made his fortunes from the gambling industry has unsurprisingly failed to convince his detractors, many of whom believe Adelson is simply trying to protect his land-based casinos from a perceived threat emanating from the online world. Addressing that issue, Ron Paul has now come out strongly against a federal ban on internet poker, and in his weekly column at, wrote:

“It is an open secret, at least inside the Beltway, that this legislation is being considered as a favor to billionaire casino owner, Sheldon Adelson. Mr. Adelson, who is perhaps best known for using his enormous wealth to advance a pro-war foreign policy, is now using his political influence to turn his online competitors into criminals.”

Adelson’s Approach Could Be Aiding Criminals

Continuing his stinging rebuke of Sheldon Adelson, Ron Paul then turned his attention towards claims the billionaire lobbyist made earlier this year likening online gambling operators to terrorists. In his funded media campaign, Adelson said “Internet gambling will give criminals across the world a foothold in every American household, attracting criminal activity not only at home but internationally.”

However, Ron Paul has an altogether different perspective on the issue than Adelson, whom he asserted could actually be helping criminals in his pursuit of a federal online poker ban. As Ron Paul continues in his column:

“Some claim that legalizing online gambling will enrich criminals and even terrorists. But criminalizing online casinos will not eliminate the demand for online casinos. Instead, passage of this legislation will likely guarantee that the online gambling market is controlled by criminals. Thus, it is those who support outlawing online gambling who may be aiding criminals and terrorists.”

Conservative Lobbying Groups Oppose RAWA

Meanwhile, a coalition of conservative lobbying groups have also openly opposed the Adelson supported RAWA, and recently sent a letter to the Congressional leaders of both parties representing a further blow to Adelson’s aim of reinstating an earlier interpretation of the Wire Act of 1961. Amongst the conservative interest to have signed the letter are the following influential organization heads:

Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist,
Director of Government Relations, Larry Hart
American Consumer Institute President, Steve Pociask
Campaign for Liberty President, John Tate
Competitive Enterprise Institute President, Lawson Bader
Institute for Liberty President, Andrew Langer
Our America Initiative Honorary Chairman, Gov. Gary Johnson
Taxpayers Protection Alliance President, David Williams
Digital Liberty Executive Director, Katie McAuliffe
Center for Individual Freedom President, Jeff Mazzella
Institute for Policy Innovation President, Tom Giovanetti
Center for Freedom and Prosperity President, Andrew F. Quinlan,

The letter clearly shows that Sheldon Adelson has failed to garner enough Congressional support for his online gambling protectionist claims, and as an extract of the letter reads:

“Regardless of your personal opinions on gambling, we encourage you to preserve the authority of the states to prohibit or regulate gambling as the 10th Amendment directs.. These claims that the Wire Act provides federal authority to supersede state authority in intrastate gambling matters have been conclusively debunked in a recent paper from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas by Competitive Enterprise Institute Fellow, Michelle Minton.”

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