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Harry Reid’s Office Says Online Poker Rumors ‘Greatly Exaggerated’

Nevada Senator’s Spokesperson Addresses Speculation

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Senator Harry ReidA spokesperson for Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) has told Card Player that rumors of the Nevada senator pursuing online poker legislation are “greatly exaggerated,” but the senator’s office did acknowledge that its staff was looking into the issue in detail.

British stockbroker Daniel Stewart caused quite a stir in the poker community when he told a financial news organization two weeks ago that there was speculation that Sen. Reid would introduce an online poker bill into Congress within the next three months.

When asked for comment, Reid spokesperson Jon Summers issued the following statement to Card Player: “Senator Reid has long held concerns about whether online gaming could be regulated effectively. Rumors of a forthcoming bill, however, are greatly exaggerated and stem from staff trying to get a thorough understanding of every facet of the issue, including the potential effect on Nevada.”

Chris Moyer, the deputy Nevada press secretary for Sen. Reid, said over the phone that online poker regulation was “not high on the priority list” before deferring to Summers’ statement.

The statement may squash some of the optimistic anticipation online poker players may have been feeling since the rumors first surfaced two weeks ago, but poker advocates may take some solace in the fact that the statement did not deny the rumors, and it did, in fact, confirm that the senator’s office was researching the issue.

Washington, D.C. continues to weigh the pros and cons of online poker regulation.Despite being an elected official from the biggest gaming state in the U.S., Sen. Reid has stayed neutral on online poker regulation. Sen. Reid, the Majority Leader of the Senate and a former chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission, has expressed concern in the past that the current technology was sufficient in preventing certain users from participating and ensuring that the games were legitimate and secure.

The American Gaming Association, which represents the commercial casino industry, also shared those concerns in the past and was hesitant to embrace online gaming in large part because of them. But after reevaluating the technology available, the AGA now believes the technology does exist to properly regulate the industry. In March, the AGA officially changed its position on online gaming from ‘neutral’ to ‘open to the concept.’

The AGA represents a number of major casino companies, including Harrah’s Entertainment, Las Vegas Sands, and MGM Mirage.

In the article in Proactiveinvestors, Stewart said he believed that Reid’s speculated legislation would explicitly legalize and regulate only online poker, while leaving casino games and sports betting out of the equation.

AGA President Frank Fahrenkopf also theorized in an interview with Card Player that starting exclusively with online poker might not be such a bad idea, saying, “If there are people in Congress who are concerned whether or not Internet gaming can be properly regulated to that standards that we do in Nevada and New Jersey and some of the other states, why not start with poker? Give it a shot, and that will be the proof in the pudding, whether or not it can be properly regulated.”

Rep. Barney FrankRep. Barney Frank (D-MA) introduced The Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act (H.R. 2267) in the House of Representatives a year ago this week. That legislation would explicitly legalize and regulate online gaming, with the exception of online sports gambling.

That bill has had one hearing, but it still has not had a mark-up. Poker Players Alliance executive director John Pappas said in March that he was optimistic that the mark-up would take place “by the spring.” He even said it was possible that it could happen within the next few weeks, but nearly two months later, no significant progress on the bill has been reported.

Rep. Frank’s bill has 68 co-sponsors, according to opencongress.org.

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced narrower legislation in the Senate in August, which only sought to explicitly legalize online poker and other games of skill. The Internet Poker and Games of Skill Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act of 2009 still does not have any co-sponsors, and it has yet to have a relevant committee hearing.

Pappas has said in the past that the PPA is hesitant to actively seek co-sponsors in the Senate without first earning the support of Sen. Reid.

 
 
 
 

Comments

mago
almost 9 years ago

I am not sure why the Poker community insist on Online Poker being legalized in America. I am able to play from the comfort of my home without the intrusion of some government entity. Online poker is the last bastion of true liberty left in this country. And now, the Poker Players Alliance is lobbying for who? The players? Maybe, but the end result is always more control over you and me from the feds. The only ones who benefit are the corporations and the Government. You and I will be screwed.

 
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WayneBullet
almost 9 years ago

It is naive to think that if you just leave it alone poker will be ok. They have already took steps to make it hard to get your money into sites, they can make it harder. I would love to enjoy poker without worrying about what happens when I cash out and don't pay taxes on it. Someday that may comeback to bite me in the butt. I want to do it the right way.

 
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Uncle_Harvey
almost 9 years ago

Mogo has a point. The government should just get out of it all together. Why do I need to pay them a Tax just so I can play poker in my living room? It is time for people to stand up for freedom.

Write you politicians and tell them to mind their own business.

 
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seamarfan269
almost 9 years ago

Everyone wants safe online poker AND no government interference(such as taxes, etc), but guess what....you can't have your cake and eat it too. "my 2 cents".

 
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takedown
almost 9 years ago

It would be nice to have legal regulation and protection to keep rogues like Russ Hamilton from preying on legit players and getting away scott free.

 
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dsgnr4hire
almost 9 years ago

hey bmpek, and who do you expect to replace him with? maybe another "sen. ensign" type kind of guy or another right wing nut whose suggested solution to health care is a barter system using chickens..lol

 
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mago
almost 9 years ago

I understand we need to do it the right way, however, the feds control just about every aspect of our society. They (regulate)control the money flow, the bankers, the mortage industry etc. etc. Their control still brought us Enron, Bernard Madoff, the social security ponzi scheme, the mortage break down in 2007 and still continuing today. The politicians only control under the guise of protecting you and me, the little guy. But the truth of the matter is that the ones who can grease the palms, still control the outcome. Funny how the Enron players went to jail and one is dead, and yet the ones who destroyed the entire worlds economic system are getting bonuses. Why? Because Enron didn't matter and these so called Capitalists on Wall Street, well let's just say they grease the right wheels in DC. So before we jump on the band wagon of let's let the Government regulate us, think. It is not us that will benefit. Paying your taxes is the right thing to do. So, when you take you money out of the site, send Washington and your State their fair share. If you are concerned about others not doing it fairly, well then you are just telling me that you are a person that will only do the right thing when others do it. That is not what you are saying I hope. Your concern should be only what you do and not what others do.

 
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galego
almost 9 years ago

The head in the sand attitude back in 2006 is why we got the UIGEA.

 
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