The gambling world was stunned on Tuesday when Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt revealed that he supports the Restoration of America's Wire Act.
Laxalt's admission has been met with backlash from the general gambling committee and by Nevada lawmakers as the bill could undo everything that the state has worked for in the last couple of years.
Laxalt Reveals He Will Sign Letter Supporting RAWA
Laxalt was a guest Tuesday on Ralston Live and told host Jon Ralston that he will sign a letter circulating among state AGs in support of RAWA.
This was a shocking revelation considering that RAWA would make online poker sites and all forms of gambling illegal in Nevada and end the regulated market in the United States.
Laxalt believes that the DOJ acted hastily in claiming that the Wire Act of 1961 applied only to sports betting. He believes that the Wire Act should be restored to reestablish the status quo and that there is a consensus on the need to stop online gambling
This is the position held by Las Vegas Sands owner Sheldon Adelson, the driving force behind RAWA.
Adelson has been on a quest for years to end online gambling in the United States and this is the second year in a row that RAWA has been filed in Congress.
Nevada Governor and Regulator Blast Laxalt
To say that Laxalt's position ruffled features is an understatement. NV Gaming Control Board Chairman A. G. Burnett was first to speak out against Laxalt, disagreeing with his stance.
He expressed concerns over offshore operators providing services unregulated and even pointed out concerns over DFS operators.
Burnett believes that RAWA would allow DFS operators to run "without any regulatory oversight, including consumer protection, audits, law enforcement mechanisms and suitability for licensing standards."
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval also went after Laxalt, first reminding everyone of what has been accomplished in recent years by the states.
He then stated that "as a former Attorney General, Gaming Commission Chairman and someone who worked with the industry and the Legislature on Nevada's online poker legislation, 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."
Will His Signature Make an Impact?
While it is unfortunate that the Nevada AG has switched sides and now supports RAWA, one has to wonder if it will make any difference this year.
A similar letter went around to state AGs last year but only 15 attached their signatures. RAWA failed to come to a vote last year.
Unless this is a play for 2016, one has to wonder if Laxalt's support will have any impact. RAWA is scheduled for a hearing next month but most feel it has little chance of coming to a vote this year.
If the bill fails to come to a vote, one has to wonder if there is enough support to make a third attempt in 2016.
Should the measure come up again next year, we may want to pay closer attention to how many are supporting the measure rather than merely dismissing the bill based on two failed attempts.