PPA to Brief Congress on iPoker Technology as Fight Against RAWA Ramps Up

on March 24, 2015
Capitol RAWA PPA

Poker Players Alliance has scheduled a pre-RAWA hearing technological presentation to outline industry safeguards already in place to federal legislators. (Image: William Manning /WilliamManning.com / CORBIS)

The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) is upping its response to the potential threat of  the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) by scheduling a technological presentation on March 25th, hoping to capture the eyes and ears of congressmen, governors, and the political media.

The goal of the demonstration is to show advances in iGaming that make online poker, in particular, a safe venture for the public to use.

The demonstration will be given in conjunction with Caesars Entertainment and GeoComply, a location verification company whose clients include 888 Holdings, bwin.party, and the WSOP.com.

Scheduled for 1 PM, just three hours before the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations will discuss RAWA, the PPA hopes its exhibition will shed light on the effectiveness of regulatory measures already in place, chiefly the player account creation and age verification process.

“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,” PPA Executive Director John 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.”

Weathering the Storm

Originally slated to be heard by the subcommittee on March 5th, the hearing was postponed till the 25th due to Winter Storm Thor that dumped as much as nine inches of snow on the Washington, DC metro area.

The pushback gave the PPA additional time to prepare its defense of RAWA, a piece of legislation that would block all forms of online gambling that is being backed by casino tycoon and GOP donor Sheldon Adelson.

The PPA’s demonstration, titled “How Does Technology Ensure Online Gaming Compliance?,” will hold two briefings, one for media personnel and governors’ offices at 10 AM, and a second for congressmen and their staffers at 1 PM. Although the lecture will take place just blocks from Capitol Hill, it’s unlikely that many, if any, subcommittee members will attend.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), sponsor of the RAWA legislation in the House, would be especially welcomed at the address. “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.”

Pro iGaming Witness Added

The delayed hearing also gave the online gaming community ample time to publicize the strong bias of the subcommittee’s witness list. The backlash led to a fifth witness being added, Andrew Moylan, executive director of the R Street Institute, a non-profit and non-partisan public policy research organization.

Moylan is expected to demonstrate how RAWA is in violation of states’ rights.

“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… I think they will be a very credible and a good voice at the hearing,” Pappas said.

The PPA is not the only organization from whence the opposition to Adelson’s pushing of RAWA seems to only be intensifying.

In a recent letter from the Democratic Governors Association, a bipartisan coalition including Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada), all expressed their opposition to banning a state’s right to offer Internet gaming to its residents.