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Sen. Heller Calls for Online Poker Bill Following 2012 Election

Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) wants to put the the public spat between himself and Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) behind him to focus on the upcoming election, but is sure that both senators can work amicably toward passage of federal online poker regulations during the lame duck session.

Speaking on Nevada NewsMakers with subsequent reporting by, Heller said that the legalization of Internet poker is a vital issue to the economy of Nevada and the entire nation, and that the rift between the Silver State lawmakers accomplishes nothing positive and detracts from the Nov. 6 election.

“Let’s get the politics out of this,” Heller said. “Let’s put an important issue like Internet poker to the sidelines during this campaign because it isn’t helping the process. And unfortunately in this case, the process is just as important as the bill itself.”

The bickering between Reid and Heller began when the Democratic senator criticized his Republican counterpart’s inability to garner GOP support for the online poker bill as a “failure of leadership” and both lawmakers were at odds over whether the bill’s introduction should commence in the Senate or House. A draft summary of the proposal that carves out regulations for Internet lottery sales, off-track horse wagering and poker, but strengthens laws against other methods of online gambling, made its way into the public domain just two weeks ago. Many observers have assumed that Heller’s office was responsible for the leak as retaliation for the public criticism made by Reid.

Whether or not Heller’s camp was the source of the leak, the Republican senator appears ready to move on and looks forward to working with Reid following the election to legalize online poker in the U.S.

“The Internet poker bill was never going to pass before the election,” Heller said. “It’s going to happen. And I’m still committed, as is Sen. Reid, to get a bill passed. When this is all said and done, both sides are going to come together and say, ‘OK, let’s do what’s best for Nevada.’”



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Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.