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Harry Reid Win Really Good For Online Poker?

Written by:
Aaron Goldstein
Published on:
Nov/03/2010
Harry Reid

There has been some speculation that Harry Reid would support (and even help push through) legislation in the Senate to license and regulate online poker in the United States, although he’s been wishy-washy on the subject. 

For example, he was quoted as saying he would likely support the initiative after it passed through a House Subcommittee courtesy of current Chairperson Barney Frank.  Later, in order to satisfy some of his constituents in Las Vegas, Reid suggested he would not support such legislation.  Over the past two months, Reid has sent mixed signals.

The Senate Majority Leader managed to retain his seat rather handily Tuesday night despite prediction markets leaning towards a Sharron Angle win.

Even without victory, Reid would have remained in charge during the lame duck session, which is the only period in which the current Frank bill could stand any chance of succeeding in its current form.  There has been some suggestion that the legislation might be attached to some other measure and passed through the Senate. 

While Reid will still have majority power, Frank’s will be diminished come January as the GOP takes control of the House and online gambling’s main nemesis, Spencer Bachus, presumably takes over the Massachusetts Democrats position as Chairperson of the House Financial Committee.

Earlier in the week, shares in European-based online gambling businesses fell on the prospect that either Reid or Frank or both might not be re-elected. 

Should legislation not be passed during the lame duck session, the odds of a federal law passing that would legalize online poker over the next two years remain rather slim.  The focus is likely to shift to state initiatives such as in New Jersey where The Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association (iMEGA.org) is backing efforts to legalize online sports betting and poker.

- Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com

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