Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, the man who once supported online poker in the US, is now in favor of the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA).
The 75-year-old, who is stepping down from his political post, has hinted in recent weeks that he’s against online gambling and in an interview KNPR he stated categorically that he supports RAWA.
Back in March the Nevada Senator announced he won’t be running for re-election in the Senate as it would be “inappropriate” and drive resources away from other areas of focus for the Democrats.
“I have had time to ponder and to think. We’ve got to be more concerned about the country, the Senate, the state of Nevada than ourselves. And as a result of that I’m not going to run for re-election,” said Reid in a video statement.
This declaration would have once sounded like bad news for the online poker community in the US; however, following Reid’s recent appearance on KNPR’s State of Nevada show, the Senator’s move away from the limelight won’t be seen as such a bad thing.
During the interview Reid was asked by the show’s host, Joe Schoenmann, why he once supported the online gambling industry and now he doesn’t.
Picking up on Reid’s efforts to have online poker regulated at a federal level in the US (a fight that consumed almost a decade of his political career), Schoenmann was keen to know why he’s now had a change of heart as he’s about to leave his position as Minority Leader.
Keen to clarify his position, Reid explained that it wasn’t factual that he was in favor of online gambling, poker or anything in between.
“Joe, you have the facts wrong. I believe online gambling is not good for our country,” said Reid.Â
He went on to explain that he originally believed that the legalization of online poker would have long-term benefits for Las Vegas, however, he now feels that isn’t the case and is, therefore, against the industry.
Many in the poker community initially assumed that Reid’s new stance would include exceptions for online poker; however, as the interview continued, it became clear he is willing to support a blanket ban on igaming across the US.
“I will not stand in his way at all. If it passes the House, we are going to give it a good try in the Senate,” Reid stated.
This admission by a former champion of the online poker industry will come as a blow to those fighting to have RAWA dismissed.
Fortunately, the backing of Reid won’t automatically bring RAWA into the spotlight. The Nevada senator has always had something of a tumultuous relationship with many of the leading political figures in the US.
In fact, according to Rush Limbaugh, Reid’s latest altercation was with his brother. On New Year’s Day, Reid was admitted to hospital with severe facial injuries resulting from what he described as an accident while exercising.
However, the extent of the injuries caused mass speculation among the media as many found it hard to believe a rogue exercise band could inflict such damage.
After initially vowing to keep quiet, Limbaugh went on air to state that he believes the injuries were caused by Reid’s brother, Larry.
To this day Reid (Harry) denies those claims, but given his reputation for ruffling people’s feathers, it’s certainly possible that his damaged eye could have been the result of a beating from his brother.
Regardless of how Reid got his injuries, it’s unlikely he’ll get much sympathy from the poker community after declaring his support for RAWA.