On Thursday, The Center of Freedom and Prosperity led an alliance of close to a dozen groups in sending a letter to Congress opposing the proposed legislation.
In the letter addressed to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Robert Goodlatte, the coalition called RAWA an “outright assault on federalism.”
“The legislation tramples on the Tenth Amendment by banning state regulation of online gambling—further chipping away at the balance between state and federal governance. The bill would overturn state laws already on the books in three states and would prohibit states from selling lottery tickets online for their own constituents—rolling back at least another six state laws,” the group wrote.
RAWA seeks to undo the so-called damage caused by the U.S. Department of Justice’s opinion in 2011 that the 1961 Wire Act applied strictly to online sports betting. That led to several states—Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware—launching intrastate online gambling markets. But if RAWA passes, those three states will have to say “never mind” to all the operators they’ve licensed, while also stopping expansion elsewhere.
The bill seems to have little momentum at the moment, but its opponents are not backing down, especially with reports that pro-RAWA forces in Congress are pushing again for a sort-of online gambling moratorium.
The moratorium, called RAWA Lite, was introduced in July, when Lindsey Graham’s watered-down version of RAWA in the U.S. Senate failed to get any attention. According to Play NJ, the Lite version will no longer call for an all-out prohibition of online casino, but for a study and moratorium on online gambling expansion for two years to allow Congress to study the issue. However, a lot of studies have already been done, so the moratorium is nothing more than a desperate Hail Mary pass to temporarily ban online gambling from spreading to more states.
CFP and company’s letter also addressed RAWA Lite, calling it an assault on the Tenth Amendment.
“It has also come to our attention that some in Congress are proposing a ‘gaming moratorium’ which would grandfather existing states that have passed laws while prohibiting other states from exercising their rights under the Tenth Amendment. Make no mistake about it, a moratorium is as much an assault on the Tenth Amendment as an outright ban,” the group said.