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Senators Reid and Kyl Question Justice Department on Poker Policy

Senators Harry Reid of Nevada and John Kyl of Arizona recently wrote a letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder questioning his Justice Department’s record of enforcing gambling infractions.

The Senators asked Holder to reiterate the Justice Department’s policy that federal law prohibits internet gambling, as well as questioning why Holder’s office indicted several poker sites in the Black Friday indictments after not having taken action for several years.

This letter followed additional indictments that the US attorney in Baltimore made public at the end of May.

“This lack of activity by law enforcement led to a significant and growing perception that operating Internet poker and other Internet gambling did not violate U.S. laws, or at least that the Department of Justice thought that the case was uncertain enough that it choose not to pursue enforcement actions,” according to the letter dated July 14.

Kyl has recently softened his stance on poker, and Reid was one of the archietects of the federal bill to legalize it. On his website, Kyl writes that Republicans might support legalizing poker, saying, “Efforts to carve out an exception for games like poker, which many believe is a game of skill, may be considered later this year.”

As online poker prepares to begin legaly the District of Columbia next month, Reid and Kyl also suggested that the Justice Department has not taken a firm enough position against proposals by several state lotteries to offer in-state online gaming.

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Will Horowitz