This is definitely NOT a political blog. However, there are times when politics and poker bump into each other, and, in the case of Lindsey Graham, the Senator from South Carolina who is undeniably the biggest hypocrite in a Senate replete with them, his professed hatred of internet gambling makes him an enemy of online poker players. It also allows me to focus this blog on him, which it is my pleasure to do.
For whatever reason, Graham has been anti-poker for many years, ending with his co-sponsorship of a bill that tried to prohibit all forms of internet gambling.
Back in 2011, the Department of Justice re-interpreted the Federal Wire Act (1961), thereby allowing states to establish online lotteries, as well as legalize online casino games. This proved to be very profitable for Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware, but Graham wasn’t buying it. His response was, “Because of the Obama Administration’s decision, virtually any cell phone or computer can again become a video poker machine.”
In 2014, Graham tried to kill the deal by introducing the Restore America’s Wire Act (RAWA) to Congress. Its main purpose was “To restore long-standing United States policy that the Wire Act prohibits all forms of Internet gambling, and for other purposes.” His bill died in committee, to the delight of poker players everywhere.
Apparently, Graham tried to get the last three attorneys general to take up his cause, but none of them was particularly interested.
Then along came billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, whose views on internet poker were well known. He called it “a threat to our society” and had backed Graham’s 2014 bill, which raised some doubts as to Graham’s real motivation.
“The fact that Sheldon is on board is a good thing,” said Graham at the time, “But I’m doing this because this is what I feel like I should do.” Really?
Given that Senator Graham is fighting hard to retain his Senate seat and has publicly displayed his blatant hypocrisy (think the recent Supreme Court nomination) it just could be that the Senator is trying to play his cards right in order to get his hands on a much bigger donation from the megadonor.