As the Lame Duck Congress period comes to a close in the next month, there have been increasing calls by certain quarters, led by Democratic Senator Harry Reid, to push through a bill that supports the regulation of online poker in the US.
It is no surprise that as Democratic Senator for the State of Nevada, with its rich heritage of gambling, Harry Reid wants to see online poker regulated and made more readily available. With the new Congress set to have a stronger Republican voice this Lame Duck Congress period is a perfect opportunity to try and push a bill through to make this proposal a reality.
So what does the bill propose? The bill would allow existing casinos and poker rooms to operate online for the first two years. This would prevent the market from becoming overwhelmed by new competition and causing chaos. The bill also proposes that regulators are outsourced. This is a move strongly supported by casinos and other gambling companies who do not want too much federal involvement in their affairs.
One thing that gives online gambling supporters hope is that Harry Reid was the chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission in his earlier days. If anyone can make this bill happen it is a man who has lived and breathed the gambling and poker domain.
The chances of this bill being passed are uncertain. Those that oppose the bill have got enough obstructions lined up to make sure that if it does get passed it will not be for the want of trying to prevent it. However, it would seem poetic justice if it does pass after the UIGEA Bill of 2006 was passed in almost exactly identical circumstances when President Barack Obama replaced President George W. Bush in the White House.
If it does not get passed then, with the new Republican controlled Senate taking over in the New Year, the future of online gambling in the US does not look bright. This would be a massive shame given how popular poker has become online, not only in America but across the world. It does not over-exaggerate the importance of this bill being passed by suggesting the future of online poker rests on the decision of this bill. America needs this bill. The world of poker needs this bill.