Monday, February 23, 2015

RAWA and Lies and Social Gaming - Sheldon's Flank Attack?

Yes, there's even MORE of What’s Really Wrong with RAWA.  This is another serious post, and the reason I didn’t add any of what you are about to read is because I did not want to cloud the issue.  Reminder: the “debate” about RAWA (the Restore America’s Wire Act) can be boiled down to a simple three-step process:

  1. Adelson and the CSIG have trumped up problems like “money-laundering terrorists” and “kids who steal their parent’s credit cards and play online” as if these problems currently exist in the LEGAL and REGULATED USA online gambling world (the three states with poker/casinos, and the states with online lottery games).
  2. These problems are so awful and dangerous that the ONLY solution is to shut ALL (well, almost all) online gambling down – for good.
  3. The proposed solution, RAWA, doesn’t fix either problem (and remember, we’re assuming these problems do exist).
One thing I did not mention is the outright deception as to how RAWA is being peddled to the public.  I’ve documented plenty of issues with their website and FaceBook page as to how they confuse Internet Sweepstakes cafes and off-shore sites with the US scene, making it seem like it’s all the same – nefarious, dangerous, and ripe for crime and punishment.  But the real deception is how they push the RAWA bill (what follows is from their own website):

Congress should step in now and restore the policy banning Internet gambling to give Congress and the public time to fully examine and consider such issues as the potential for money laundering, terrorism financing, fraud and other criminal activity, participation by minors, exploitation of individuals with a gaming addiction and the impact on jobs and economic activity.

Sound great, except:
  1. There is no timeline in the bill – it ends online gambling, period.
  2. There is no “call to study” in the bill – it ends online gambling without a second glance.
  3. If Congress was to study online gambling, it would help if online gambling was actually in process – ending it leaves no chance to study it.
  4. Again, “all” online gambling is not banned, as the bill has “carve outs” for Horse Racing and Daily Fantasy Sports betting.  And NOWHERE is anyone considering examining Horse Racing and DFS for “potential for money laundering, terrorism financing, fraud and other criminal activity, participation by minors, etc.
To repeat from my earlier post, RAWA only does one thing:  It shuts down current LEGAL and REGULATED U.S. sites – poker, casino, and lotteries.  It would strike a blow to those companies who have invested in online gaming technology (hint: Adelson’s competition). 

Keep that in mind for a minute more…as there has been some speculation that RAWA might also “take a peek” at Social Gaming.  While I think they want to ban social gaming as much as I think they’ll hold a fair hearing next week, this does warrant a bit of speculation here.

There are many non-gaming companies involved with social gaming like Yahoo and Zynga (who actually now DOES do for-real-money gambling in the U.K.), and many U.S. firms use their social gaming sites to enhance their customer relationships and affinity with players (not to mention that it can make money – almost $3 Billion total).  IGT has DoubleDown; MGM and Stations are tied into MyVegas; Caesar’s has Caesar’s Casino on Facebook plus Slotomania and Bingo Blitz; several smaller casinos (including Native American casinos here in Oregon) have social gaming sites of their own with free play; and at the Michigan Lottery you can play free demo versions of their for-real-money games (and they are fun – any kid would love ‘em). 

In fact, there’s only ONE major casino company absent from this arena.  Guess who?  C’mon, guess.

Could this be Adelson’s flank attack?  Cripple his competitors in TWO ways?

ONE MORE TIME:  CSIG has established scary-sounding problems that don’t exist, and even if they did, RAWA does NOTHING to solve them.  The sole purpose of this group and this act is to curb competition, perhaps in a variety of ways.  It's “Crony Capitalism” at its utmost worst.  

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