Harry Reid discusses his online poker bill
As rumors continue to swirl over whether the bill will even be introduced in the current lame-duck session of Congress –never mind its chances of passing—Harry Reid (D-NV) decided to talk candidly for the first time about his decision to back legalized online poker.
In a statement Reid said: “The online poker bill I am working on is good for the country and for Nevada,” Reid said in a statement late Thursday. “Internet poker is played by millions of Americans every day in an essentially unregulated environment, meaning no protections for minors, no respect for state law, no assurance that games are fair and honest, and no one to turn to if you’re defrauded.”
Reid, who was given tons of campaign financing from the land-based casinos his home state of Nevada is known for, and now that the tourism dollars have dropped during the recession the mega-casinos are turning to online gaming to make up for their lost revenue. They also realize that with conservatives taking over the house in January there is little chance for the bill to pass after the new Congress is sworn-in.
Although Reid spoke forcefully regarding legalizing online poker, the Las Vegas Sun pointed out that he never gave a definitive answer on whether the legislation would be introduced or not –presumably attached to the bill that would extend the Bush tax-cuts.
Industry insiders are supporting the bill, but they have many concerns regarding the exact measures the bill would put into effect. Of extreme concern is the 15-month online poker moratorium that will occur once the bill is passed. This would mean a complete shutdown of the online poker industry in the United States for over a year, which would likely decimate the worldwide participation in online poker.
Despite this aspect and a few other concerns, the Poker players Alliance has thrown their support behind the legislation, as have PokerStars, and even Cake Poker Room manager Lee Jones –who wrote a very interesting post on 2+2 detailing his reasons for supporting the measure.
The bill will likely meet with stiff opposition from Republicans, which is why Reid is hoping to attach it to the Republicans sweet-spot bill; TAX CUTS! If the online poker bill does find its way into the tax-cuts legislation this will be its only chance for passage –I think the going price for the success of the bill is between 20%-30%: Yes you can even gamble on the chances of gambling being legalized!
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