Sen. Harry Reid Reconfirms his Willingness to Outlaw Online Poker

May 13th, 2015 | by Brian Corlisse
Sen. Harry Reid willing to ban online poker if required.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who faced Tea Party favorite Republican Sharron Angle in his race for the re-election, addresses supporters at an election night party in Las Vegas, Nevada, November 2, 2010. (Image: REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus)

Senator Harry Reid, the man who was once fought for online poker in the US, is now in favor of repealing current legislation and bringing an end to all iGaming activities across the country.

Although his comments, as reported by the Las Vegas Sun, did suggest that he is still a fan of online poker, it’s now clear that he isn’t willing to pursue this support if it doesn’t suit his political peers.

While the news won’t come as a shock to many with an eye on the regulatory scene in the US, the interview reinforced how another former supporter is now ready to turn against online poker if the price is right.

Online Poker Will Go if Necessary

According to the Las Vegas Sun, Reid’s latest declaration, which came during an interview on Monday, showed that he is more than willing to do whatever he can to force a full iGaming ban across the US if that’s what he deems necessary.

“Unless we can get something done with poker, I’m going to look closely – I haven’t made up my mind – but I’m going to look closely into banning it totally. I’m going to take a hard look at it. It would be something I would certainly consider strongly,” said Reid. 

Reconfirming his readiness to drop online poker like a bad smell will certainly be disappointing for those who have campaigned to have the game regulated in New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware and, moreover, the US as a whole.

Moreover, alongside this disappointment, will be a sense of fear. Seeing someone such as Reid turn against the industry will not only bolster the chances of the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) being passed into law, but it will give Sheldon Adelson another political ally.

Reid’s Influence Waning

Fortunately, however, the recent comments by Reid probably won’t strike too much of a chord with the relevant authorities in the US.

In fact, as it stands, Reid is moving away from the political mainstream and, while he will still have some sway with those in power, it’s unlikely he has enough gravitas to push RAWA passed an already skeptical crowd.

Already this year the new Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, has stated that she is unlikely to change the DOJ’s position on the Wire Act. Although she did say she will review the documentation, she made it clear that it was neither a priority nor something she’d invest too much time in doing.

“Unless in the course of my review I conclude that OLC’s interpretation of the Wire Act is unreasonable, I do not intend to take any action to suspend or revoke the opinion,” said Lynch after being appointment as Attorney General.

This comment came just a few months after the advocates of RAWA were unsuccessful in their bid to have the anti-online gaming bill heard during the Lame Duck session.

Overall, despite persistent efforts from those with sympathies towards the likes of Sheldon Adelson, the chances of RAWA are looking less likely by the day. Although Reid’s recent statement will improve the chances of another hearing, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to do much more than has been (unsuccessfully) tried already.


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