Reid Says Online Gambling Bill Will Hurt Online Poker Efforts

Recently the Las Vegas Sun reported that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid believes that efforts to legalize online gambling at the federal level will not succeed. Recently New York Republican Peter King introduced a bill that would legalize most forms of internet gambling including online bingo. Reid told reporters from the Sun “I felt for several months now that I don’t see any movement on this. I don’t see anything happening.” Last year Reid planned to partner with now retired Senator Jon Kyl at the end of the last legislative session to introduce a bill that would limit online gambling to poker only.

Reid opposes King’s bill and says it will hurt a poker only bill’s chances of passing. According to the Sun “While Reid added that he doubted King’s bill would pass, the introduction of a broad piece of gaming legislation both divides the sympathies of pro-gaming lawmakers and helps to stiffen the resolve of those opposed to gaming, whom online poker enthusiasts had hoped to persuade with the limited nature of their gaming legalization.” The Sun also said Earlier this year, poker lobbyists told the Sun that if legislation wasn’t in the process of moving by June or July, online poker on a Federal level was pretty much sunk.”

While congress dawdles three states have already legalized online gambling; Delaware, New Jersey and Reid’s home state of Nevada. At the present time Nevada has limited online gaming to poker and is the only state to have a regulated poker site. The Ultimate Poker site is up and running and WSOP, owned by Caesar’s Entertainment is next in line. The Poker Players Alliance, which lobbies on behalf of players and operators in Washington DC, announced that the organization will focus its efforts on legislation at the state level. The Nevada law contains a provision that would allow online gaming operators in Nevada to provide gambling services to other states.

Reid believes King’s bill will make it more difficult to get any online gambling legislation passed. Reid voiced his objections and said the bill “basically authorizes everything – 21, poker, everything.” Reid said the introduction of a broad piece of gambling legislation divides pro-gaming lawmakers and strengthens the resolve of anti-gambling lawmakers. In 2006 congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act and ever since some lawmakers have tried to undo the damage caused by the ill-advised piece of legislation. So far all attempts have been unsuccessful and Americans continue to spend billions at offshore gambling sites.