Harry Reid Releases Statement On Internet Poker Bill: Still All-In

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Harry Reid

After days of silence and speculation, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has finally released a statement related to his draft bill that would legalize online poker in the United States.  Despite reports Wednesday evening that Reid had removed the Internet poker bill from his agenda, the Nevada Senator made it abundantly clear late Thursday he was all-in.

“The online poker bill I am working on is good for the country and for Nevada,” Reid said in a statement late Thursday. “Internet poker is played by millions of Americans every day in an essentially unregulated environment, meaning no protections for minors, no respect for state law, no assurance that games are fair and honest, and no one to turn to if you’re defrauded.”

To be fair, most of the respected online gambling outfits have incorporated strict mechanisms preventing minors from joining.  Likewise, most of the industry leaders have been in existence now for 10 years or longer. 

While a number of high ranking Republicans have voiced objection to the bill, others like Orrin Hatch said they support it.  There is every indication Reid has a decent amount of bi-partisan support for his measure.  Whether he can get it through as part of the controversial tax extension deal by the end of this lame duck session remains to be seen.  

The online poker sector is divided as to whether they want Reid’s bill passed “as is”.  Some players are angered by a provision that would disallow existing operators from applying for a license (with little guarantee of actually getting one) for 15 months or longer.

One player stated: “The 15-month blackout would be a lot more palatable if it were guaranteed that Full Tilt and Stars would be returning to the market immediately afterwords. As it is, it currently looks like there will be an additional two-year delay on them, and I feel wary about big casino-run poker sites that will be of unknown quality. Additionally, I worry that the 15-month blackout may get extended, and am also concerned about my state opting out (though I live in a state that appears to be opted-in by default).”

- Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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