Those of us who advocate for regulated online gambling got a gift from the heavens on Thursday when the RAWA hearing scheduled for Thursday, March 26, was moved up to Wednesday the 25th at 4 pm.
Why is this a gift? Here is the reason:
As Michelle Minton from CEI notes, on Wednesday, March 25, mere hours before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations holds their hearing on Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) the Poker Players Alliance has decided to hold a technology demonstration to debunk Sheldon Adelson-backed claims as to the dangers of online gaming – assertions that will almost certainly be espoused ad nauseam during the RAWA hearing at 4 pm.
With the hearing coming soon after the demonstration, it should keep the realities of online gaming fresh in the minds of lawmakers.
Real-time demonstrations was one of my five ways to win the House hearing.
The who, what, where, and when of the demonstration
The demonstration, titled “How Does Technology Ensure Online Gaming Compliance?” will take place at 10 am in the Hall of States – Meeting Room 285.
At the presentation will be representatives from GeoComply (a leading geolocation technology company)and Caesars Entertainment (which operates regulated online gaming sites in Nevada and New Jersey), as well as the Poker Players Alliance Executive Vice President John Pappas.
According to a summary sent to media members, the demonstration will show “how sophisticated technologies can effectively protect state borders by ensuring gaming only occurs where authorized, identify and restrict access by minors, protect consumers from fraud and protect the vulnerable (those with compulsive gaming behaviors).”
The success of this demonstration will hinge on getting members of the subcommittee to attend it.
If they are able to see these things firsthand they will be able to ask the pro-RAWA witnesses during the hearing to explain away what they saw earlier in the day, which of course they will not be able to do.
What to expect from GeoComply
Based on GeoComply exhibitions in state legislatures throughout 2014, this will be a showstopper.
The geolocation technology used can not only ring-fence a state, but as Anna Sainsbury of GeoComply told California lawmakers, it’s precise enough to ring-fence individual buildings – the example of how this works in New Jersey left virtually every California lawmaker with a look of awe on their face.
The demonstration will likely include a live look at New Jersey’s geolocation system, which will show (in real-time) how the technology works.
I also expect the GeoComply representative on hand to detail the multiple layer safeguards in place to help detect the use of VPNs, spoofing, and other illicit means to thwart the geolocation technology.
What to expect from Caesars
The Caesars part of the demonstration will likely involve the creation of an online poker account including the invasive player verification process, cross-checking the compulsive gambling list, as well as showing how deposit limits and self-exclusions function.
It’s harder to judge what this will look like and what impact it will have, as registering an online poker account doesn’t have the same panache as watching geolocation flags pop-up in real time. That being said, if done effectively, this will go a long way to lessening the melodramatic statements that are likely to come from the pro-RAWA crowd later in the day.
Pappas takes on RAWA for Roll Call
PPA Executive Director John Pappas will likely be answering a lot of questions from those in attendance, not only on what they are seeing, but about RAWA and online gaming in general.
Pappas recently wrote an op-ed for Roll Call laying out the reasons RAWA would be a bad deal for the nation, and will likely focus on these points in his interactions with lawmakers.
In his rebuke of RAWA Pappas notes:
“Despite all the evidence to the contrary, Chaffetz is convinced it was Congress’ intent when the act was passed, more than 50 years ago, to prohibit all forms of gambling over the Internet. RAWA would not “restore” the Wire Act, it would actually create a brand new federal law that would usurp states’ rights to regulate and police online gaming within their own borders.”