Reid’s iPoker Bill Still Big News

Even as New Jersey draws ever closer to being the first state to legalize online gambling, the masses continue to hope for a blanket federal solution. Though Senator Harry Reid himself has admitted that the odds are against him, proponents of the draft he released just last week refuse to let the dream die.

As we and several other news portals reported earlier in the week, Obama’s announced compromise on Wednesday seemed to dash all hopes of Reid getting his poker bill attached to the tax bill. But when Democrats resoundingly refused that same bill yesterday, many felt renewed hope that Reid could still work out a compromise with the other side of the aisle.

Per a mass mailing to their member list just last night, the PPA’s Executive Director, John Pappas, announced that the Alliance will continue to lobby for the passage of Reid’s iPoker legislation, asserting that “nothing is dead until Congress adjourns.” In the same letter, Pappas reassured PPA members that while the organization does not support the proposed 15-month blackout, “it is a reality.” Pappas went on to encourage current American players to consider this blackout “short-term pain for long-term gain.”

Apart from the public opposition already expressed by incoming chairs Bachus, Camp and Smith, Reid’s primary opposition in the current session comes from Arizona Senator Jon Kyl, who has been outspoken in his anti-online gambling stance for years. Kyl has made it clear that he is as determined to see the bill die as Reid and his supporters at the PPA and American Gaming Association are to see it pass.

Reid’s so-called Internet Poker Act of 2010 has also elicited a surprisingly negative reaction from other members of the existing American gambling industry, namely state lotteries and smaller casinos who worry that the accessibility of online gambling would damage their local markets. Reid has tried to counter these claims by stating that existing American operators would be the unique benefactors of the bill’s expanded market since they would have exclusive licensing rights for the first three years.

Regardless of which side of the debate you’re on, we won’t have long to wait to see the outcome, as the current “lame duck” session ends in only a week. The fact that Reid is already reaching out to a number of the next session’s incoming Congressmen seems to be a strong indication that even he doubts his bill’s short-term chances.

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