New online poker bill fighting roadblocks

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Jul 29, 2012 Posted in Legal Poker News, US Poker News | No Comments »

For the second time in the past two years, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is looking to drum up support for a bill to legalize online poker on the federal level, and he is looking for that support from his fellow member of the Nevada delegation Senator Dean Heller (R-NV). Adding a strange twist to the story, Heller just happens to be the man Reid is hoping is unseated this November by Democrat Shelley Berkeley, proving once again that politics makes very strange bedfellows.

Heller, who will need the support of the Nevada Casinos in the upcoming election, is in somewhat of a tight place considering Republicans are for the most part anti-gambling of any kind, so delivering Republican votes in an election year is no easy task, but on the other side Heller needs to prove to the casinos he can get things done in Washington DC and push their agenda.

The proposed bill (which according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal is ready to be rolled out as soon as Reid has the votes to get it passed) is something of a hybrid of previous attempts to regulate the online gaming industry on the federal level. The bill would only legalize and regulate online poker, and would actually strengthen existing laws outlawing online casino games and sports-betting.

That said, during the political silly-season of a presidential election year the proposed bill could very well be just a political move by Reid to discredit Heller’s clout in DC back home, something which Heller seems to be very wary of considering his recent comments to the National Review where he said he would not be “put in a box” and would “let Reid do all the talking, he seems to like to do a lot of talking on this issue. And I’ll continue to work and see what we can do to get something passed.”

Heller was also quick to call the legislation Reid’s win or lose, something the Senate Majority Leader seems to disagree with, stating, “I can’t get Republicans. If we get some Republicans we will get it done.” As it stands only Heller and Senator John Kyl (R-AZ) have openly supported Reid’s proposed legislation.

With their home state of Nevada moving forward with legalized online poker on a state level, and with Delaware and other states now joining the cadre of states also exploring legalizing online poker the federal government is seeing their window shrink, and could very well be shutout of the online gaming industry if enough states enact legislation (for or against) before the federal government comes up with a suitable bill.


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