Ron Paul represented Texas’ 22nd and 14th districts in the United States House of Representatives for nearly a quarter century.
Although the two-time presidential candidate has since retired from government service, that isn’t stopping the outspoken 79-year-old from making his voice heard with regards to online gambling.
Writing an op-ed in The Salt Lake Tribune last week, Paul discussed his opposition to Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) introducing the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) in February.
Though the bill, which would essentially create online gambling prohibition, has just a two percent chance of passing Congress according to GovTrack.us, a government transparency and bill tracking website, Paul isn’t holding back.
“Despite claims of wanting to limit government, Rep. Chaffetz is launching an all-out attack on the Internet!” Paul writes. “He sponsored the so-called Restoration of America’s Wire Act to ban Americans from visiting websites that allow individuals to gamble online, making it a federal crime to play poker online, along with outlawing online lotteries and other games.”
“Now, I personally don’t gamble. But do we really need the federal government censoring access to the Internet in the United States?” Paul asks.
Like Ron, Like Rand
While many in the GOP are backers of banning Internet betting, or at least aren’t in favor of expanding it, Ron’s son, Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), is one Republican who is outspoken in his position that the government shouldn’t limit access to online gaming and poker networks.
Announcing his formal candidacy for the 2016 presidential election in April, Paul recently said, “I’m opposed to restrictions on online gambling. The government needs to stay out of that business.”
The field for the GOP ticket is a crowded one, with nearly 30 candidates declaring their nominations, and while Paul and Donald Trump are pro-iGaming, the majority have taken a distinct different position.
Republican Party mega donor Sheldon Adelson, the chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp, is pushing RAWA, but before candidates receive his financial backing, they’ll likely need to publicly support a ban on online gambling.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina: The first to introduce RAWA, the senator reintroduced the bill to the Senate last week.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida): Co-sponsored Sen. Graham’s reintroduction of RAWA.
Jeb Bush: The former Florida governor has long been opposed to any gambling expansion.
Rick Perry: The former Texas governor and 2012 candidate attended this year’s Republican Jewish Coalition Spring Leadership Meeting, an event dubbed the “Adelson Primary,” and wrote a letter to Congress in March of 2014 asking for the Wire Act to be restored.
Also in attendance at the RJC Spring Leadership courting Adelson: Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.
Though Trump is thought to have been in favor of online gambling in the past due to his financial self-interests in the casino business, the Pauls are more ideology-based in their reasoning.
The liberty-loving father-son duo is all about freedom and choice, and that belief extends to the Internet gambling trade.
“Supporters of an Internet gambling ban publicly deny they are motivated by a desire to curry favor with a wealthy donor,” Ron Paul wrote in 2014. “Instead, they give a number of high-minded reason for wanting to ban this activity.”
Though the matter is expected to receive little debate time at upcoming forums, should a moderator present the issue, the field will disagree more than potentially any other topic.