Sheldon Adelson’s Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling has obtained the services of former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott to lobby lawmakers on behalf of the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA).
The coalition has hired Lott via the lobbying firm of Squire Patton Boggs (SPG), which also counts former Senator John Breaux among its ranks, to do its bidding.
The six-strong lobbying team at SPG, led by Lott and Breaux, was recognized by political news site The Hill as Top Lobbyists of 2014.
Despite their obvious credentials, however, Lott and Breaux may have a hard time drumming up support for RAWA, which remains an unpopular piece of legislation in Washington, among Republicans and Democrats alike.
Many pols dislike the bill because it smacks of cronyism. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who introduced RAWA to the Senate last month, has announced his intention to run for president, and many observers believe that RAWA is a means of securing the sponsorship and campaign donations of Adelson on the GOP ticket.
“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,” said Ron Paul in an op-ed piece for Eurasia Review last year. “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.”
Graham, a long-time state’s right advocate, developed an interest in banning online gambling around the time that Adelson’s decided to contribute to his reelection campaign last year.
Meanwhile, because RAWA extends to the prohibition of online lotteries, it faces opposition not just from the three states that have chosen to regulate online gambling and poker, but also from the 12 states that currently offer some form of online lottery sales, as well as the dozen or so more that are debating whether to do so in the future.
“Sheldon Adelson’s power over politicians, especially those running for president, is significant, but Congress must show it is stronger,” said John Pappas of the Poker Players Alliance recently.
Meanwhile, the PPA has been emailing its members, urging them to support the Internet Poker Freedom Act, a bill introduced to the House by Representative Joe Barton (R-TX) in the same week that Graham presented RAWA to the Senate.
“Representative Barton has been a terrific champion of our right to play, and we at PPA applaud him for reintroducing his legislation to provide a federal framework for states choosing to participate in interstate poker,” wrote the PPA in its message.