Rumor control has it that Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada) is interested in presenting legislation to the U.S. Senate which would legalize online poker, and online poker only. These rumors, which have been around for a while now, have been picking up speed and momentum as of late.
Reid represents the State of Nevada, which of course is the home state of Las Vegas, the gambling capitol of the U.S. As such, he has always been very protective of the great casinos there. And the land based casinos have always been against any legalization of online gambling.
So why would Harry Reid, if indeed he is, suddenly be interested in legalizing online poker? And why just Poker? For one, legalizing online poker only would make it a much easier sell in congress.
The President of the American Gaming Association (AGA) stated in March that: “We are open to the concept of legalized internet gambling, so long as there is a regulatory regime that is put in place that protects the consumer and protects the integrity of the game”.
Pokerati.com gives several interesting takes on this. They say that the AGA is the “representative voice” for the land based casinos, and they see it playing out something like this: Congress lets the UIGEA go into effect on June 1, and then they go after the biggest and most powerful online poker sites in the industry. Then they pass the new law. The big land based casinos set up their online operations and get them going. Then the European sites enter in. The market is fully saturated while the online sites are fighting for their lives in the federal courts.
Again, keep in mind that this is all just rumor and speculation. No such legislation exists at this time. But the thought that if it does go to congress, a whole new ballgame may be opening up in the online gaming battle front.