Harry Reid: ‘We Cannot Have a Series of Laws Around the Country Related to Gambling’

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Harry Reid:  ‘We Cannot Have a Series of Laws Around the Country Related to Gamb

Following an appearance on NBC’s “Meet The Press” this past Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was confronted by Tony Batt of GamblingCompliance.com.  Reid told Batt that a recent change in stance by the US Department of Justice should help push to get federal legislation through that legalizes online poker.

“It’ll give us an incentive to get something done,” Reid told Batt as he departed the studios.

Reid also insisted that legislative efforts on the state front was not the way to go.

“We cannot have a series of laws around the country related to gaming. 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.”

Reid furthermore indicated what was reported in the New York Post a few months back, that he is in talks with Arizona Republican Senator Jon Kyl, the very man who co-authored and helped push through the current legislation that ensures banks block transactions for online poker.  While his bill included carve out provisions for horse racing and state lotteries, the banking sector considers the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) an unfunded mandate.  As such, there's been little distinction between the so-called “good” online gambling and the “bad” on the part of the banks. 

Likewise, none of this will really matter if the credit card issuing banks decide not to implement a specific transaction code for online poker.  Under UIGEA, the states may not have the authority to get this done.

On the surface at least, Reid’s position does appear to make more sense where online poker is concerned.  The game requires a large pool of players and only a few individual states would be able to create a viable industry on their own.  Case in point, Nevada has a population under 3 million.  It is estimated that no more than three companies could successfully operate a lucrative Web poker business within that state’s borders.

From PocktFives.com:

Fifty different licenses for each state, and their differing regulations, could create a nightmare for potential gaming companies looking to get into the business, whereas a single Federal set of regulations would likely be more appealing to operators.

- Chris Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher