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Harry Reid Wants Online Poker Legalized This Year

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Aug/15/2011
Online Poker

With the debt ceiling debate out of the way for the time being, it’s time to focus on other issues once Congress returns from their extended summer vacation…and this includes the strong likelihood of online poker being legalized this year.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made a last minute push during the waning weeks of last year.  Though unsuccessful, his commitment to getting the industry legalized did not go unnoticed, especially in Vegas where interested parties have decided to pump even more monies into lobbying efforts.

From WickedChopsPoker.com:

Sen. Harry Reid has made public and private statements again about Federal online poker regulation being a priority. Our sources confirm that online poker regulation is something Reid is expressing as a priority this year, and one of his biggest backers, Caesars Entertainment, spent $821,000 in lobbying for it in Q2 of 2011. Our sources also believe that if online poker is regulated, and this is no shocker, that it’ll be the big Nevada casinos who will get a head-start on the competition and receive the first licenses. However, we expect that to be expanded to Indian reservations as well, as their protests played at least a small in the stalling of the Reid BillTM back in December.

An added push to get legislative actions moving came immediately following the events of “Black Friday”.  The term applies to April 15 indictments handed down against the co-founders of the three biggest US-facing online poker rooms at the time, PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and UB.com, on charges of money laundering and bank fraud. 

It’s been a mixed bag of emotions ever since.  On the one hand, the poker playing community condemned the US Justice Department for its actions, which resulted in thousands of professional poker players losing their jobs.  On the other hand, Full Tilt and UB.com’s inability (or unwillingness) to pay back players since the indictments may be indicative of unsavory companies deserving of the US Justice Department’s wrath.  Individuals charged are each facing life sentences when one considers their current ages. 

WCP also notes that the Poker Players Alliance has fine tuned its efforts in recent months and are now focused on outreach to the Congressional Debt Committee and how online poker regulation (specifically, the Barton Bill) would have a positive impact deficit reduction.

- Chris Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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