Will the Restoration of America’s Wire Act return to Congress?

  • Reports suggest that the Restoration of America’s Wire Act could return to Appropriations
  • If successful, act would have serious implications for a legalized online casino industry

It is no secret that in the United States, discussions and debates on the topic of legalized online casinos are rife. Indeed, we’ve seen many states this year inch closer toward the legalization and regulation of online casinos and gambling.

Among the many outspoken proponents of legalized online casinos is casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who is widely recognized as being opposed to the idea of such a law. A key part of those proponents’ fight against such legalization is the so-called Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), which was introduced in March 2014 and of which Adelson is alleged to be a supporter.

Republican, Charlie Dent is reportedly against the legalization of online gambling in the US

Thus far, those pushing for the RAWA to pass congress have failed in their endeavours. However, according to recent reports that could be about to change.

RAWA to be passed?

One such report stems from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which has suggested the possibility of the RAWA being ‘tacked’ onto the Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2018 by Charlie Dent, a Republican firmly against the legalization of online gambling in the country.

So far, RAWA has only ever had hearings. But legislature is said to be somewhat volatile, when it comes to ultimate lawmaking. This makes RAWA’s reappearance in Congress fairly believable.

This is not the first time that Rep. Dent and his colleagues Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Jason Chaffetz have carried out actions such as this. Just last year, Sen. Graham is said to have snuck RAWA deliberations into the 2017 agenda.

If RAWA attracts any substantial attention during 2018’s Appropriations, it could wreak havoc on the online casino legalization attempts of states like Illinois and Pennsylvania, where players have recently seen regulation closing in on its home run.

The aims of the Acts

The Interstate Wire Act of 1961 made betting and wagering organizations that relied on wire communications illegal. Then, in 2006, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act deemed all online gambling operations in the U.S. illegal.

And in 2011, the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel announced that under the Wire Act, online gambling was legal but remote sports betting remained illegal. This is because the Wire Act was not intended to ban online gambling, given that the Internet was not in existence at the time of its introduction. This declaration gave the decision to legalize online gambling to each individual state, which sparked long-term countrywide debates. The aim of RAWA, therefore, is to nullify the ruling made in 2011.


It’s reported that support for the RAWA is divided in the US. For those who support the legalization of online casinos is seen as a threat – and they cite concerns that such legalization in one state would lead to a daisy chain effect, whereby successive states effectively follow suit. And what would be the problem with that, some would ask. It depends on which side of the fence you site in a debate that is truly polarizing in terms of people’s opinions. It could be argued – and it has been a lot – that there are benefits to the legalization and regulation of online casinos, not least the considerable economic benefits as seen in states like new Jersey and Nevada. Will the RAWA realistically be ‘tacked’ on? it’s highly unlikely at this stage, but there will be many watching with interest.

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