Senator Harry Reid has opined that efforts to pass an online gambling bill prohibiting online gambling with a special carve out for online poker will be renewed in 2015.
Reid, who was formerly the chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission, has been in favor of the idea of legalizing online poker while prohibiting all other forms of online gambling. His online poker bill, which he had proposed in 2012, hadn’t turned out to be a success.
Industry analysts felt that an online gambling bill prohibiting all forms of online gambling except poker would be passed in the lame duck session, but such a thing did not happen. There were also rumors that Reid was collaborating with Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate who launched a nationwide anti online gambling coalition. The industry worried that the two may support the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), which seeks to repeal the 2011 DoJ re-interpretation of the Wire Act and restore its previous interpretation.
Now Reid says that efforts to ban all forms of online gambling except online poker will be renewed in 2015.
This week, he told Las Vegas Review-Journal: “I think there will be efforts made to look at the Wire Act in a Republican-initiated Congress, yes I do. I think there will be efforts made to get rid of the Wire Act … I think the proliferation of gambling on the Internet is not good for our country. I think it is an invitation to crime. I think it is hard to control for crime when you’ve got brick-and-mortar places, let alone something up in the sky someplace, and it is very bad for children.”
He also said that he will support all efforts to legalize online poker, but not the DoJ’s 2011 re-interpretation of the Wire Act.
Simultaneously, he denied that he had made any “gentleman’s agreement” with Adelson, promising to ensure that the RAWA would be passed if Adelson helps him get re-elected. Admitting that he is Adelson’s friend, he said that there are too many political differences between them for such an agreement.
The Poker Players’ Alliance (PPA), which had once supported Reid and his attempts to legalize online poker, has now withdrawn its support. John Pappas, the executive director of the PPA, said that poker can be successful only if other forms of gambling are successful. If other forms of online gambling are banned in the US, “investment and interest would shrink considerably.”