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Federal Poker Bill Dead

Senator Harry Reid has declared that his joint venture legislation to regulate online poker in the United States is officially dead. The politician has cited the lack of time and an appropriate legislative vehicle as the primary reasons for the failure of the bill. The demise of the Reid-Kyl bill has severely wounded the movement to create federal regulation for an online poker market. 

The Reid-Kyl bill has been the most promising piece of legislation for the creation of a federally regulated online poker market since the UIGEA laws of 2006. The legislation became a priority for several Nevada casinos seeking this potentially lucrative venture. Many casinos even preemptively partnered with various online operators to prepare for federal legislation. 

Although this piece of legislation gained some bi-partisan support, the Reid-Kyl bill suffered from many logistical problems that eventually led its demise. It faced much opposition from various groups including state lotteries, the National Governor’s Association, Native American groups, and the religious right. Furthermore, the supporters of the bill were ill-prepared to appropriately lobby other politicians and to counteract the opposition’s efforts.    

“I do think there’s a lot of people that didn’t grasp fully at the time the urgency of getting this done sooner rather than later,” Reid Chief of Staff Krone said. “They were never fully prepared for the state lotteries and the states and the tribes that were going to come up and take this on.”

Nevertheless, the movement to legislate online poker has taken a major hit and the outlook for a federally legislated online gaming market seems very bleak. Senator Reid and the Nevada Casinos have stated that the fight will continue, although a lot of momentum has been lost. At the moment, United States poker players can only look to the dozens of states looking to legalize online poker.  


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