Online poker aficionados have kept their fingers crossed for months that the Reid/Kyl Bill, which aims to roll back aspects of the 1961 Federal Wire Act, clearing the way for legalized, regulated online poker in the United States while tightening prohibitions against other forms of Internet gambling, including sports betting. The bill would also make provisions for certain types of lotteries.

US Gambling Law

The two Senators from Nevada, Harry Reid and Dean Heller, publicly sniped at each other with regard to the legislation back in September. Speculation about the bill’s future only mounted during election season, with many hoping to see action on the bill during Congress’s lame duck session.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the pair of Nevadans are at it again as crucial Republican support for the legislation has failed to materialize, prompting Reid to once again comment that Heller has failed to live up to his promise to rally support for the bill within his party. Reid, who has been a longtime supporter of online poker regulation, in part because it would bring a serious windfall to large casinos in his home state, said some months ago that he expected Heller to produce fifteen Republican votes for the bill. Presently, there is no GOP support for the Reid/Kyl bill.

In recent weeks powerful poker lobbying group the PPA has voiced its support for the bill’s passage, though it has suggested changes to allow for international players to be able to join in games as well as to shorten waiting periods before operators can enter the marketplace.

Legal expert Paul Clements has also weighed in on Reid/Kyl, suggesting last week that a clause requiring so-called "bad actor" online poker sites that continued to operate in the United States after the 2006 passage of the UIGEA sit out of the market for a five-year period is unconstitutional.

Quoted in the Las Vegas Sun, Reid said, "I said on a number of occasions that to bring an Internet poker bill to come to the floor you need 15, 17 Republican votes. At this stage, we’ve gotten none."
With the looming fiscal cliff dominating the attention of Congress as well as the nation, Heller claims he has not moved the issue of online poker to the back burner, stating that he is "beating the bushes" to deliver the votes. Yet, he still took time to fire back at Reid, saying, "That's his answer to everything - blame Republicans."

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