Sheldon Adelson, LVS Chairman

Sheldon Adelson, the Republican mega-donor who is widely believed to be the driving force behind RAWA. But many Republicans are unnerved by his meddling in US politics. (Image: Getty)

The American Conservative Union (ACU), the influential Republican organization that orchestrated the presidential election campaign of Ronald Reagan, has denounced the Restoration of America’s Wire Act.

The new bill, which seeks to ban all online gambling at a federal level, with the exception of horseracing and fantasy sports, has been branded “big government” by the union, which says it is disappointed that its main sponsor, Representative Jason Chaffetz (Rep-Utah) would attempt to curtail state’s rights.

The bill, if passed, would effectively dismantle the online gaming regulation begun in the states of Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware.

“The ACU trusts governors, including the 31 Republicans, to set the gambling regulations in each state; whether that is prohibition or regulation,” said ACU Executive Director Dan Schneider this week. “The federal government does have a role in legitimate law enforcement matters, but it should not take on the added responsibility of overriding a state’s inherent police powers.

Indeed, Congress already has expressly supported the rights of each state with this activity in the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 where the fundamental principle of states’ rights was preserved.”

Adelson Redoubles his Efforts

Just days before the bill was presented, Adelson met with Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee, which includes Chaffetz, on Capitol Hill for a private strategy meeting, and Schneider obliquely alluded to the widely-held suspicion that casino magnate is, in fact, the driving force behind the bill.

“Conservatives don’t have to agree on the value of gambling,” he said, “but we should agree that it is unwise to use the brute force of the federal government to try to stop states from making their own decisions on this activity, especially if the reason for this action is to support gambling entrepreneurs in Las Vegas. Unfortunately for them, what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas; it should be up to the states to determine if they want to reject or accept Vegas.”

“One Powerful Billionaire”

It’s not the first time that dissent has been voiced among GOP ranks when it comes to RAWA. Arch-conservative Ron Paul recently attacked the bill, and Adelson’s involvement with it, in more direct terms.

Writing an op-ed for Eurasia Review, Paul condemned the legislation as a “blatantly unconstitutional infringement on our liberties that will likely expand the surveillance state,” which “worst of all … is all being done for the benefit of one powerful billionaire.”

“It is an open secret, at least inside the Beltway, that this legislation is being considered as a favor to billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson,” he wrote. “Mr Adelson, who is perhaps best known for using his enormous wealth to advance a pro-war foreign policy, is now using his political influence to turn his online competitors into criminals.”