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Online Poker Villain Says He Won't Seek Re-Election To Congress Next Year

U.S. Rep Jason Chaffetz Will Leave Washington

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A Congressman who has held anti-online poker meetings on Capitol Hill won’t be running for re-election in 2018.

BuzzFeed reported that Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, arguably the most powerful backer of the Sheldon Adelson-funded campaign to ban internet casinos nationwide, will step down at the end of this Congress.

Chaffetz currently chairs the House Oversight Committee. In December 2015, he held a robust and biased hearing on online betting. The meeting was an attempt to advance the RAWA bill he was sponsoring at the time.

Fortunately for poker players, the hearing ended up going awry for RAWA supporters. The legislation still remains a threat to this day, but many Republicans have publicly opposed it because an anti-states’ rights bill like an online poker ban would go against the U.S. Constitution.

Chaffetz explained his decision to leave Washington in a Facebook post.

“Since late 2003 I have been fully engaged with politics as a campaign manager, a chief of staff, a candidate and as a Member of Congress,” Chaffetz said in a statement. “I have long advocated public service should be for a limited time and not a lifetime or full career. Many of you have heard me advocate, ‘Get in, serve, and get out.’ After more than 1,500 nights away from my home, it is time. I may run again for public office, but not in 2018.”

His upcoming departure doesn’t appear to have any potential impact on another route a regulated online poker ban could take. Far right Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering a move to reverse a 2011 legal opinion from the Obama DoJ that said the 1961 Wire Act does not prohibit states from having online lottery services and internet casino games.

Sessions said earlier this year at his confirmation hearing that he was “shocked” by the legal opinion that allowed for state regulated online poker sites.