Harry Reid Voices Support for Online Poker-Only Legalization

Yeah for poker! But kick in nards for Big Casinos?

by , Aug 26, 2010 | 2:02 am

We’ve been saying for awhile how critical Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is for any regulated online gambling legislation to stand a chance at making its way into law. And despite non-denial denials from his office regarding plans for a forthcoming poker-only Senate bill, the Reno Gazette-Journal is reporting that Reid is now saying something more directly suggestive of his online poker intentions:

[Gaming] executives said Reid, D-Nev., told them he would support the legalization of online poker in the United States but drew the line there — he would not support any other form of online gaming — during an Aug. 16 meeting at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa [in Reno].

This falls in line with what Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) told the same paper earlier this month — that Reid’s position against online gambling had “softened dramatically” — after she and Nevada’s two other representatives made a serious push on Reid to support Barney Frank’s HR 2267. Berkley and Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) are Frank bill co-sponsors, and Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) “cautiously supports” it.

The problem Reid’s supposedly running into now are non-Harrah’s B/M casinos in northern Nevada asserting online gambling is a threat to business and Nevada tourism … thereby costing the state jobs. And as outdated and arguably inaccurate as that argument is — we’ve heard it before, from the same Vegas ops and Indian tribes that now support online gambling — anything that opponents can spin against Reid as anti-jobs probably isn’t something the senator would want to risk heading into November, as he faces a statewide election in the state with the highest unemployment in the nation. At a minimum, wading into such waters would require a lot more money for internet ads to smear Sharron Angle out of contention.

Titus, meanwhile, is making the argument to counter the smaller B/M casinos point of opposition. Her office’s spokesman told the RJG: “This legislation will not detract from our first-rate casinos and an industry that is vital to the livelihood of so many Nevadans, but will benefit Nevada’s casinos, many of which are interested in building an online presence in the United States.”

We’ll have to reserve judgment for now on what it all means … too many possibilities with so much money, power, and potential backstabbings in play. But it does reveal for certain that somebody’s Full Tilt checks arrived! federal bills ushering in a new era of online poker are moving forward, with or without casino games.

If you’re a registered voter in Nevada, visit the PPA for contact info to voice your position semi-directly to the Senate Majority Leader.

2 Comments to “Harry Reid Voices Support for Online Poker-Only Legalization ”

  1. Kevin Mathers

    Sort of tied into this, there’s a new website from the PPA: http://www.playersbeforeprofits.com having people sign a petition to forward to the Commerce Casino, who testified against HR 2267.

  2. Mark Gahagan

    I think Sharron Angle will do enough to torpedo her campaign without Harry Reid having to do much, but he’s unlikely to act on anything online gambling related until after the election. There was already discussion about getting this passed during the lame duck session anyway.