Reid Kyl federal online poker bill DOA

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Dec 17, 2012 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

I can’t say that I’m overly surprised that the news that the proposed Reid/Kyl legislation that would have legalized online poker at the federal level is officially dead, and if you read my columns regularly you already know I’m entrenched on the pessimistic side when it comes to the chances for Federal online poker legislation. That said, the bill had potential thanks to the giant compromise it offered conservatives –basically strengthening laws against all forms of online gaming but carving out an exemption for online poker.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) chief of staff David Krone broke the news by saying, “This bill for this year is dead,” adding, “It’s just, reality hit us in the face. It’s a tough bill to educate people on, and people just weren’t ready.”

Senator Reid said the news was “disappointing”, but that he and Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., “remain committed to this issue and it will be a priority for us in the new Congress.” Reid explained the failure to move the bill forward by saying, “we have simply run out of time in this legislative calendar,” previously blaming Republicans for not supporting the bill.

The first roadblock for the bill was to gather republican support, which turned out to be a slow process, and as the Talking Heads once sang, was on a “Road to Nowhere” seemingly from the outset. However, the bill did finally gain some Republican interest this past week, but coincidentally this support started to trickle when there was no other bill it could be attached to! So with support suddenly coming in there is no longer any vehicle to get the bill passed.

Over the years the idea of a legalized and regulated online poker industry in the United States (at the federal level) has been analogous with Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown. A bill always seems within reach, and we are told the prospects are better this time around, and then at the very last second it is pulled away. The issue has its advocates and its detractors, but it seems that because the general public simply doesn’t care enough about this issue for politicians to take a controversial vote on the matter. The detractors have also grown from social conservatives and the NFL to state lotteries that see potential legislation taking away from their lottery coffers. As Krone put it, “I do think there’s a lot of people that didn’t grasp fully at the time the urgency of getting this done sooner rather than later. They were never fully prepared for the state lotteries and the states and the tribes that were going to come up and take this on.”

Fortunately states HAVE been moving forward on online gaming, with Nevada set to roll-out legalized online poker just after the New Year, and other states like New Jersey exploring the possibility. So for now we will wait to see what can be done at the state level and once again cross our fingers when it comes to the Senate and House of Representatives.



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