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Nevada Officials Worried Over Harry Reid’s Support of Online Gambling

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Aug/25/2010
Harry Reid

 

Some Nevada gaming officials have expressed concern over Senate Leader Harry Reid’s support of online gambling legislation.  A bill authored by chairman of the House Financial Services Committee Barney Frank that would effectively license and regular online poker rooms in the United States passed in subcommittee last month. 

H.R. 2267 would effectively amend title 31, United States Code, to provide for the licensing of Internet gambling activities by the Secretary of the Treasury, to provide for consumer protections on the Internet, to enforce the tax code, and for other purposes.

Reid has already stated he would vote in favor of the legislation, but also informed Nevada gaming officials his support would not go beyond legalized online poker.

Executives have expressed concern that once Internet poker becomes legalized the floodgates will be open for online casinos to enter the U.S. market.

“It (online poker) is just the tip of the iceberg and could open up this state to more online gaming,” Bill Hughes, the marketing director of the Peppermill, told the Reno Gazette Journal. “It will only draw more money out of this state, from our poker rooms and eventually other facilities.”

Some Nevada gambling companies are already positioning themselves to take full advantage of the possible new law.  Harrah’s, which owns the World Series of Poker, is widely being discussed as a company that would acquire the world’s 4th largest online poker venture, PartyGaming.  That group recently announced plans to merge with one of Europe’s largest Internet sports betting firms, Bwin.

Just how lucrative an industry is online gambling?

U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., a sponsor of complimentary legislation that looks to tax online poker, recently said that Americans spent $12 billion with offshore sites in the past year, despite federal laws that were supposed to make it difficult to do so.

Reid says online poker legislation would bring much needed revenue to the state.  Others remain suspect.

“Approving online poker now, how is that going to be any different than approving online slot machines or online blackjack?” said Gary Carano, general manager of the Silver Legacy in downtown Reno. “I don’t know what it means specifically when you say online poker only. On the poker machines we have today, there are many games, poker games, blackjack games, keno games and slot games.”

Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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