Internet Gambling Bill: Don’t be Fooled by Reid’s Bearish Attitude

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Internet Gambling Bill:  Don’t be Fooled by Reid’s Bearish Attitude

Former boxer turned Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) came out swinging Friday against online gambling legislation introduced by Congressman Peter King (R-New York).

“(It) basically authorizes everything – 21, poker, everything,” Reid said of King’s bill.

“I felt for several months now that I don’t see any movement on this,” Reid said. “I don’t see anything happening.”

But Reid can ill-afford to anger the casino sector in his home state, the majority of which want legalization at the federal level.

Reid was likely put off by the notion that real money Internet gambling can’t be “Nevada centric”, as one former state Representative brought up last week.

The Senate Majority Leader previously introduced a bill that would have made Nevada the sole beneficiary of the multi-billion dollar industry.  That didn’t exactly sit well with other state lotteries and Tribal casinos.

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Reid’s counterpart in the Senate, Dean Heller, will be introducing a companion bill some time this summer.  Heller and Reid need not write their bills as “Nevada Inclusive” as the Silver State already has a jump start and should be able to reap the rewards of federal legislation regardless. 

Perhaps the best bill will be one that most parties can agree on.  Simply exempt online poker from the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA).  Treat poker like other exempted forms of gambling such as horse racing, fantasy sports and state lotteries. 

The failure to pass federal legislation will mean that states continue to move forward with their own plans to allow online gambling within their borders, leading to potential multi-state compacts similar to that of the Powerball model.  In this scenario Nevada, with its population a little greater than 3 million, may ultimately find itself left out in the cold.

- Chris Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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