Adam Laxalt is the Attorney General of the state of Nevada. He wants to be the Governor of the state of Nevada and signed the paperwork to enter the race for the job last week. One big problem: he is against the existence of online poker in a state whose identity is gambling and was the first to create a legal, regulated online poker industry.
His anti-online poker stance has not been much of an issue lately, but came to the forefront in late 2015, when his was one of a handful of Attorney General names on a letter written to Congress in support of Sheldon Adelson’s Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA).
Adelson, the founder and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., is online poker’s public enemy numero uno. Incensed when the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel clarified around Christmas 2011 that the Wire Act only made online sports betting illegal and not all online gambling, Adelson got his legal team to whip up RAWA. RAWA would make the DoJ’s previous, completely incorrect interpretation of the Wire Act – that it applies to ALL online gambling – the law of the land, effectively killing online poker in the U.S., even in those states that have legalized and regulated it, like Laxalt’s Nevada. RAWA hasn’t gained much traction and is largely seen by lawmakers and both side of the aisle as “crony capitalism,” but it exists, so it’s a threat.
Oh, and Adelson is a billionaire Republican donor and string puller, so make of that what you will when it comes to Adam Laxalt.
In an interview with Jon Ralston on “Ralston Live” in November 2015, Laxalt had dumb things to say about his support of RAWA:
There’s a couple giant exceptions to this, alright? One is Congress spoke on this issue and had an existing Wire Act, ok? And then Attorney General Holder issued an opinion a few days before Christmas some years ago and changed that landscape. He changed that landscape without gaming companies, without law enforcement, without all the parties that should’ve been involved to make sure that we can keep consumers safe and all this can be done properly. So, I think obviously in this case we’re looking to return it back to what the status quo was, that Congress passed, and, you know, the other thing is obviously gaming is a different animal. You know, you have, you need to know where the sources of money are coming from and you need to make sure you can police this area.
Never mind that when you regulate poker like Nevada has done, the point of regulations is to, in part, make sure the sources of money are known and to ensure that the industry can be policed. But you know, pesky details and all.
Nevada’s current governor, Brian Sandoval, has the opposite stance to Laxalt’s and supports online poker. He said in 2015 that he was
“very concerned that anyone representing the state’s legal interests would speak out against current state law in our leading industry.”
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