New Harry Reid Cyber-Security Bill a Likely Vehicle for Internet Poker

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
New Harry Reid Cyber-Security Bill a Likely Vehicle for Internet Poker

After two controversial Internet piracy bills were shelved last month, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is back with a revised bill that could potentially include an amendment to strengthen the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) while legalizing Internet poker.  Gambling911.com should stress that there is no confirmation of such plans to tie the two bills at this early stage.  That may all change shortly. 

Rumors have circulated over recent months that Reid and Arizona Republican Senator Jon Kyl were working together on a measure that would include the legalization of Web poker.  Reid ultimately confirmed this to be the case. 

The Senate Majority leader is under intense pressure to get something done in light of individual states positioning themselves to legalize online card games following a US Justice Department reversal of policy whereby The Wire Act will no longer apply to poker or casino games.

“We cannot have a series of laws around the country related to gaming,” Reid said. “I know a lot about gaming… I’m a former chairman of the Nevada (Gaming) Commission and I think it’s very important that we have a national law.”

The Senate Majority Leader was quoted as saying:  “I’m not going to get into how we’re going to get it done. We’re going to work together to get it.”


Now comes a new Cybersecurity bill that could be the perfect match for amending UIGEA. 

From the Daily Caller

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., “will lead his second effort of 2012 to push Internet-regulating legislation, this time in the form of a new cybersecurity bill. The expected bill is the latest attempt by the Democrats to broadly expand the authority of executive branch agencies over the Internet.”

This time, they’re doing it with more stealth. The Daily Caller added, “Details about the bill remain shrouded in secrecy. Clues available to the public suggest that the bill might be stronger than President Barack Obama’s cybersecurity proposal, which was released in May 2011.”

Some industry pundits have questioned whether federal legislation is even necessary in light of the recent Department of Justice decision.

A seizure warrant filed by the Washington State Western District Court against an online gambling payment processor last October and only made public Wednesday specifically cites Title 18 U.S.C 1084(b), which suggests that states legalizing online gambling (outside of sports betting) will be able to engage in business with other states that do the same.  Likewise, they can engage in business with foreign nations that allow for legalized online poker, such as Costa Rica and Great Britain.  This provision, as it stands now, seems especially favorable to those sites operating outside the United States.  Federal legislation could look to override Title 18 U.S.C 1084(b).  It should be noted that Washington is the only state that criminalizes the actual gambler for playing online poker. 

Reid’s latest reincarnation of so-called “cyber security” legislation will exit the gates with a significant handicap following the disastrous public relations tied to previous attempts at regulating the Web.  Dozens of websites organized protests last month that forced a number of Congressmen and women to back off their support of the controversial legislation known as Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). 

- Chris Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher


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