Senator Harry Reid, who has been advocating the legalization and regulation of online poker for a long time, and Senator Jon Kyl, one of the opponents of online poker regulation, have been trying to agree on a federal online poker bill. However, they need the support of GOP senators if this bill is to be passed in House.

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Although the US federal government is yet to create strong poker laws, Nevada has not only created a regulatory framework for online poker in its territory, but has also accepted and approved applications for licenses to offer online poker services within Nevada. According, online poker operators licensed by the Nevada Gambling Commission will launch online poker sites in Nevada either late in 2012 or early in 2013.

When the DoJ announced that it has re-interpreted the Wire Act of 1961 to mean that online poker and online casino games are no longer illegal, but only online sports betting is illegal, a number of US states, including Nevada, took it as an opportunity to regulate online poker at the state level. Recently Delaware enacted an online gambling law. All these developments have terrified lawmakers at the federal level, making them feel that a number of state online poker laws might complicate matters further.

Reid said, “Senator Kyl and I’ve worked very hard. What we need to do is get some Republican support. That hasn’t been forthcoming yet.” Reid hopes that Senator Kyl will convince his fellow Republicans about the need to enact a strong poker law at the federal level. Senator Kyl of Arizona was one of the fiercest opponents of legalizing online poker and had played a very important role in passing the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006, which made it illegal for financial institutions in the US to process gambling-related funds to discourage players from playing online poker and casino games at offshore online gaming sites.

Kyl has voiced his opinion that the Wire Act needs to be revised so that it is absolutely clear how it applies to online gambling. The recent DoJ announcement might have been a major mistake, he feels.

Meanwhile, the Poker Players’ Alliance strongly supports the enactment of federal online poker laws as it feels that state-level regulation might complicate things in future. The online poker community is now wondering if the Republicans will change their mind and vote for federal legalization and regulation of US online poker.

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