Window Closes on US Online Poker Bill in 2012

law gavel

After another year of congressional waffling and heavy gaming-industry lobbying, the last window for passing a federal online poker bill in the US in 2012 has been closed.

Commenting on the situation via the Las Vegas Review-Journal over the weekend, Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, who co-authored the current bill regarding online poker with Arizona Sen. John Kyl, said time simply ran out to push the bill through Congress in 2012.

"I am disappointed," Reid said, adding that he remains “committed to this issue” and that “it will be a priority for us in the new Congress."

Although the Reid/Kyl bill was never officially introduced in Congress, Reid had said enough Republican votes to pass it had been confirmed.

Still, added Reid's chief of staff David Krone, it wasn't enough:

"It's just, reality hit us in the face," Krone said. "It's a tough bill to educate people on, and people just weren't ready.

"I do think there's a lot of people that didn't grasp fully at the time the urgency of getting this done sooner rather than later.

"They were never fully prepared for the state lotteries and the states and the tribes that were going to come up and take this on."

A draft of the current bill, which legalized online poker but declared other forms of online gambling off limits, leaked out in September and caused a new wave of unrest among State Lottery interests and church groups, which set momentum back.

The next Congressional session is scheduled for January 2013, although Krone isn't convinced the current bill will still be a viable option:

"Our goal is to definitely try again next year, but Senator Reid's feeling is that after a while there comes a time when you've lost momentum, you've lost the consensus that you've built.

“There will be a window next year, but I don't see it going long."

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