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Reid and Heller’s Online Poker Quarrel

The ongoing spat in Nevada between Democratic Senator Harry Reid and Republican Senator Dean Heller over the legalization of online poker has gone public.

A summary of Reid’s bill, co-sponsored by Arizona Republican Jon Kyl, was leaked earlier this week. If introduced, it would strengthen anti-gambling laws overall in the United States but would legalize online poker.

Reid and Heller have been quarreling over where to introduce the bill—in the Senate or the House of Representatives. Kyle has sided with fellow Republican Heller in calling for the bill to be introduced in the House, as opposed to the Senate where Reid is the majority leader. 

Reid has labeled Heller’s inability to garner Republican support for the bill in the Senate a “failure of leadership.” Heller needed to secure 15 Republican Senate votes by last Monday in hopes of passing the bill during a three-week work session before the November elections.

Heller’s Chief of Staff Stewart Bybee told the Las Vegas Review-Journal: “Progress is being made, and there’s still work to be done. But jamming the timeline and putting an artificial deadline does not help the process.”

Now Reid and Kyl will not introduce their bill before the presidential elections due to the lack of Republican support. The bill will likely be unveiled during the lame-duck session following the elections.

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