With time running out on the lame-duck session of Congress, the Reid-Kyl federal online poker bill was pronounced dead for 2012 by Sen. Harry Reid.
Lack of concensus as well as an overwhelming amount of opposition led the Nevada Senator to release a statement indicating that the bill will not be introduced in the remaining days of Congress and the effort to pass online poker legislation will begin anew in 2013. Reid said that he and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) remain committed to gathering support and eventually passing a version of the “Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2012”. But they will have to omit the 2012 from the title.
While the Reid-Kyl bill calls for legalization of online poker, it actually strengthens laws against other modes of Internet gambling such as casino games. That doesn’t sit well with lawmakers from some states, particularly Delaware and New Jersey. Delaware already passed online gambling legislation for its residents that will reportedly offer more than just online poker.
The New Jersey State Assembly approved online gambling legislation by a 48-24 vote on Monday. A vote will now be taken by the full Senate on Thursday. Should the measure gain favor with that governing body, A2578 will then reach the desk of Gov. Chris Christie. The bill would legalize a full menu of online casino games.
In addition to the displeasure of the Reid-Kyl proposal among lawmakers of various states, other opponents to the bill included some state lotteries and Indian tribes. Lotteries believe that gaming decisions should come from the states themselves and many tribes were put off by the fact that a minimum number of land-based games would be required for participation in the federal scheme.
The Reid-Kyl bill did have its supporters, such as the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and the American Gaming Association (AGA). The FOP cited an urgency in establishing federal laws so that crime associated with online gaming could be combatted and better enforced. The AGA, like many others, believe that a patchwork of laws by individual states would create havoc in properly regulating online gaming activity.
So legalization of online poker at the federal level will have to be revisited sometime in the new year. In the meantime, Nevada is readying itself to offer online poker to Silver State residents and tourists in early 2013. Delaware plans to offer intrastate gaming to Delawareans sometime after that, but an actual up and running date has not been put forth by state gaming officials. California lawmakers will also soon be considering a poker-only bill in the Golden State. And as previously mentioned, New Jersey will look to Gov. Christie to sign an online gambling bill into law, provided that the state Senate votes in favor of the measure on Dec. 20.
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