US Senators pushing bipartisan online poker bill

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Jul 18, 2012 Posted in Legal Poker News, Online Poker News | No Comments »

Similar to the way an online poker bill was born out of thin air in the Senate during the “lame-duck” session of Congress in 2010, it seems another online poker bill may be following a similar trajectory; hopefully with better results than the 2010 version. The new bill is being pushed by Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) –who pushed for the 2010 bill that never went anywhere—and Senator John Kyl (R-AZ) who was a proponent of the UIGEA bill that started the US online poker decline and is listed as one of the authors of the bill.

According to the National Review, the proposed legislation would legalize and regulate online poker while at the same time crackdown on all other online gaming such as sports-betting and casino games where the house has an edge over the player.

In an interview with Tech Daily Dose yesterday, Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, said, “Here’s the issue, Sen. Kyl and I’ve worked very hard. What we need to do is get some Republican support. That hasn’t been forthcoming yet,” Without a super-majority in the Senate (60 of the 100 votes) the bill will never see the light of the day, which is why Reid is courting some members from the other side of the aisle. Having Senator Kyl, a staunch Republican and author of the UIGEA bill, on his side should help in bringing some other republican senators on board.

Kyl’s position change on this issue is not as abrupt as it first appears, as the legislation would attempt to clarify the current laws on the books, including the Wire Act and the 2006 UIGEA. Kyl stated that, “It’s an opportunity to go back and revise the Wire Act, make sure that everybody knows that it applies to Internet gambling,”

With the new bill only applying to online poker (a game even many staunch opponents of gaming are ambivalent toward), and strengthening laws against other forms of online gaming, it could strike the perfect balance to appease both Democrats and Republicans.

Online poker/gambling bills have been kicked-around Congress over the past four years, but in all but one instance they have never made it past the committee stage (A bill introduced by Barney Frank (D-MA) in 2010 passed committee but was never brought to a vote on the House floor). Since then a number of House members have been friendly to online poker legislation and it seems the issue is one of very few that will receive bipartisan support.


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