U.S. Online Poker Bill by Reid and Kyl Searching for Support from Republicans

U.S. FlagAs has been reported at PokerSites.us, Senate majority leader from Nevada Harry Reid and the Senate minority whip from Arizona John Kyl have joined forces to create a new U.S. online poker bill. The two have now found an ally in U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-Nev.). Heller is vocal about his attempts to bring Republicans to the table in support of fellow Republican Kyl. Reid is attempting to bring fellow Democrats to the virtual green felt.

Heller noted, “I’ve talked to leadership and a couple of colleagues.” He added that he wanted to “make sure … all of them have an idea of what we are trying to push in this effort.” He also commented that he’s “working with Kyl very closely to try to get something to happen.”

Heller said that he has spoken to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and leadership deputies Sen. John Cornyn of Texas and Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri.

Heller also warned, “There are a lot of discussions going on, not a lot of answers at this point. We’re still talking about the nuts and bolts on this but time is running out.”

Time is important as the U.S. heads into the election season. It should be noted that no one seems to know what may be in this new online poker bill. What’s known is that Reid and Kyl are close to making something happen and they have shown specifics to some but that the bill itself probably won’t be seen until just before Congress is asked to act on it.

Time is of the essence since various states are moving towards legalizing either gambling or poker on their own. Reid, who is from Nevada, has extra motivation in that his state has everything in place and ready to go as soon as the federal government passes a law regarding online gambling. Also, many of the casinos in Nevada have positioned themselves to be some of the first in line for online gaming by creating partnerships with online poker and casino companies. Many have the paperwork set to go or in place.

If the Reid/Kyl bill comes into being and is voted on and passed by both the House and Senate and then signed by the president it would probably be a few years before online poker in the U.S. is available through U.S. based providers. The implementation will take time.

However, not everyone in Las Vegas is for online gambling. Sheldon Adelson is against it due to the possibility that young people will be exposed to what is a potentially addictive behavior. Adelson, a major Republican donor who is close to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., serves as chairman of the Las Vegas Sands Corp.

On Adelson , Heller said, “He has an opinion and obviously that is taken into consideration, and we have to work with it and around it to try to make something happen. I certainly don’t discount his position.” Heller added, “I want everybody to have a voice in this process, including Mr. Adelson. I don’t see his voice being any stronger or any less important than anybody else. He is just part of the puzzle.”

That puzzle may be solved fairly shortly. That is if Heller, Reid and Kyl can collect and put together all of the pieces for passage of the bill.