Sen. Harry Reid May Support Online Poker Ban

Harry ReidThe prospect of online poker regulation spreading throughout the U.S. does not look promising when a key Nevada lawmaker is against it.

Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, who previously supported federal legislation that would allow a carveout for online poker, has now indicated that he may side with Sheldon Adelson in his push to ban online poker and gambling throughout the U.S. Adelson, the billionaire casino mogul and Las Vegas Sands CEO, is behind the Restoration of Americas Wire Act (RAWA), a federal bill that aims to send U.S. online poker players to the rail permanently.

Nevada, of course, is one of three states that have regulated online poker. Should RAWA prove successful, Nevadans and the many tourists who flock to the state would no longer be able to legally play poker online. Nor would players in Delaware and New Jersey.

Reid, the Senate minority leader, was behind the Reid/Kyl bill in 2014 that would have permitted online poker while banning online casino games. The proposal failed to gain traction and did not come up for a vote during the lame duck session despite the prediction of many that it would.

In a recent interview, Reid admitted that he previously worked very hard to get online poker. But since that effort failed, he may now look closely into banning it totally, the Las Vegas Sun reported.

Reid announced in March that he would not seek reelection in 2016 and will retire, but this latest announcement indicates that his swan song may include a punch to the gut of online poker regulation advocates all over the U.S. The three regulated states all launched their ipoker regimes in 2013, but none have followed since.

Progress has faltered in the state-by-state format of regulation made possible by a DoJ ruling in 2011. While a number of other states are considering online poker and gambling legislation, it appears that 2015 may go by without any more states taking the plunge.

Nevada made progress earlier this year when an [geolink href=””]interstate compact with Delaware[/geolink] was launched. While that pairing has renewed hope among those in favor of ipoker regulation, Reid may prove to be a buzzkill in his home state – and throughout the nation.

Adelson founded the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) in late 2013 and has been supporting the fight against online poker and gambling with his unlimited bankroll. The CSIG has been gaining momentum as RAWA was the subject of a congressional hearing in March.

Should Reid support the ipoker and gambling ban, he would go against the grain of the majority of Nevada’s casino industry. Most of those casino bosses embrace online gambling as a way to improve their bottom line.

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett