Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has outspokenly stated his belief that online poker and gambling laws that are being proposed by several states will not be good for the U.S. and he would prefer to see federal online gambling legislation that would cover all of the states.
“We cannot have a series of laws around the country related to gaming,” Reid said. “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.”
Nevada is in the forefront in the race to provide online poker on an intrastate basis by approving regulations last December. The Silver State is now charting a course that could see Nevadans legally playing poker over the Internet later this year. Many industry observers believe that federal lawmakers are under pressure to pass online gambling measures before other states follow Nevada’s lead, which would create a hodgepodge of individual state laws.
Rumors have been floating throughout the industry that Reid may attempt to tack an online poker bill onto a revised cyber security bill, whose foundation is to tackle Internet piracy. The Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the main lobbying organization on behalf of poker players, has also supported the inclusion of online poker regulations to the latest Internet security proposal.
“Many of us are reaching out to members of the Senate Homeland Security Committee suggesting they add poker to the cyber security bill, which is good because it’s germane to the bill and has a revenue component,” PPA’s Vice President of Player Relations Rich Muny told Pokerfuse.
A pair of Internet piracy proposals failed to advance in March. According to industry scuttlebutt, in addition to an online poker bill, its possible that Reid’s latest cyber security version could include an amendment aimed at strengthening the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which has often been criticized as being vaguely worded and difficult to enforce.
Although the PPA is lobbying for online poker legislation to be attached to Reid’s revised proposal, the alliance has not given up hope on other Internet poker bills advancing, such as those sponsored by Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) and Rep. John Campbell (R-CA), should the cyber security measure again fall by the wayside.
“We would like to continue trying to push the Barton bill through committee, and then either it goes forward by itself or it gets attached to another bill,” Muny said. “And of course there is the Campbell bill as well. We are deeply appreciative of Representative Campbell for supporting our right to play. So these are two bills we’re behind. Of course, the Barton bill is the main bill we are behind, but we’re going to be pushing those two bills forward.”