Potential Online Gambling Ban Threatens To Curb Economic Growth

April 1, 2015 -

The only two States who reject any kind of gambling are Hawaii and Utah and on Feb 4, 2015, with the intention of reversing the Department of Justice's decision to expand online gaming, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (Democrat - HI) and Congressman Jason Chaffetz (Republican - UT) collectively introduced the Restoration of America's Wire Act (RAWA).

One of the most influential and significant backers is Sheldon Adelson, Chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands, the billionaire casino magnate. Adelson via his massive campaign contributions wields substantial influence amongst Republicans and in the latter part of 2013, started the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling.

Adelson's critics argue that Mr. Adelson is singularly motivated by his strong intent to preserve his land based casino empire and is using his political influence to turn his online opponents into criminals according to former Republican Ron Paul.

The House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations were set to hold a hearing for the bill on 25, March 2015, however most of the media coverage regarding RAWA has been firmly focused on Adelson's relationships with republicans like Senator Linsey Graham (Republican, S. Carolina) and Governor Chris Christie (Republican, New Jersey. The impact of RAWA and the implications of it being passed into law, have by and large been overlooked.

RAWA would risk millions in tax revenues along with thousands of jobs. With immediate effect the gaming markets in the states of New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada, where it is legal for licensed state casino operators to provide online gaming facilities to their residents, would be abolished. The hundreds of state employees, employed in customer support, fraud prevention and accounting would all lose their jobs and add to the count of the 7,000 jobs lost last year in Atlantic City.

Thousands of additional out of state jobs for identity verification services such as CAMS, payment facilitators such as Sighline, and geolocation providers the likes of Geocomply, would be wiped out, not to mention the impact on marketing affiliates and partners like the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Devils and their multi-million dollar deals.

RAWA as well as costing millions in lost tax revenue for the legalized states, $20 million alone in 2014, would also deny additional states such a future opportunity in helping to bridge their annual budget. Whether common sense prevails remains to be seen, so far however it seems one step forward and two back, as unfortunately when it comes to politics, usually seems to be the case.