Last April 02, 2015, Rich Muny, the Vice President of Player Relations at Poker Player Alliance (PPA) submitted a petition seeking the support of President Obama in the fight against the proposed Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA). Mr. Muny put forward the petition, not as a representative of the PPA but as a private citizen of the State of Kentucky, via the White House provided “We the People” online grievance platform.
Through the petition, Mr. Muny seeks to gain the support of President Obama in blocking the enactment of RAWA. The proactive action is being taken in the event that certain members of the federal legislative division succeed in passing and endorsing the law for executive enactment. After all, the U.S. President has the inherent power to veto, instead of approve laws passed by Congress, especially if such legislative acts do not have the confidence and popular support of the American people.
The petition, which bears the title “Protect Internet Freedom,” states that House Resolution No. 707, will benefit only certain large donors. It did not specifically mention casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, as the most prominent and vocal supporter of the move to ban Internet gambling on a federal level. It further declares that the legislation of RAWA sets a dangerous precedent that will enable Congress to bar U.S. states from enacting laws that regulate online gambling by way of licensing and monitoring. It explained that state regulations aim to drive out unauthorized online gambling sites, as well as institute safety measures that ensure the protection of players, the prevention of underage gambling and of adverse gambling behaviors.
The petition further asserts that RAWA is supported by a group of federal lawmakers who want to amend the federal Wire Act as means to fulfill the ultimate goal of overriding and legally quashing the legalization laws previously passed by the U.S. States of Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada. Succeeding in doing so sets a precedent that will preclude other states, from passing similar online poker and online gambling legalization legislations in the future.
In order to merit attention from White House experts, the petition must be able to gather at least 100,000 signatures as a demonstration of popular support for the pronouncements, arguments, and principles presented by the petition. As of this writing, 2,319 supporters have electronically affixed their signature, and are largely expected to meet the signature threshold before the May 02, 2015 deadline.
The anti-RAWA movement spurred the union of different groups publicly opposing the bill; from gambling proponents, to libertarian organizations, consumer rights groups, and professional lottery lobbyists. The coalition is actively urging members and supporters of their respective organization to sign the petition.
In 2011, a similar petition focused mainly on gaining support for the legalization of online poker was also submitted to the White House website. To which the response of Mr.Brian Deese, the Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, stated that the legality of online gambling depends on the law of the state that has authority over the online betting or gambling business. According to Mr. Deese, the federal government leaves the matter of legalization and of deciding whether to allow online poker activities within a jurisdiction, to the lawmakers and the government of that state.