Some reputable sources recently reported that Nevada’s democratic Senator, Harry Reid, who has served as the Senate’s Majority Leader since 2007, and Arizona’s republican Senator, Jon Kyl, the Senate’s current Minority Whip, have agreed on an outline for federal legislation regarding online gambling. Without discussing how his talks about such legislation with Senator Kyl have progressed, Reid has recently been quoted by various sources, including the Las Vegas Review-Journal, as saying, “We’re now waiting again, as I do with a lot of things around here, to get some Republican support.”
Nevada’s junior Senator, republican Dean Heller, is reported to be helping generate support for the bill that Reid and Kyl have agreed upon among his fellow republican lawmakers. In an article entitled, “Heller: Legalizing Online Poker on Front Burner,” Steve Tetreault quotes Heller as saying, “It is critical that something happens this year. If we get beyond this year, I think that states will have gone too far in their efforts to basically legalize everything.” Tetreault also reported that Heller said he has spoken to Senators, Mitch McConnell (KY), John Cornyn (TX), and Roy Blunt (MO) about what Reid and Kyl are hoping to have passed by the Senate before the end of the year.
In addition to facing opposition from both democratic and republican lawmakers, supporters of federal legislation to regulate online gambling, including Internet poker, have to contend with opposition from various groups, including American Indian tribal groups. The U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will have its third meeting to discuss the potential affects that legalizing online gambling may have on the revenues generated by casinos located on tribal lands on Thursday, July 26th, 2012.
If enough opposition can be overcome and enough lawmakers agree to support a version of the bill that Reid and Kyl eventually make available for review, most agree that the proposed legislation will be incorporated into another bill as a rider so the online gambling portion of the bill would be voted on as part of an overall piece of legislation instead of a free-standing, independent bill, much like the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, or UIGEA, became law as part of the Safe Port Act in 2006 under republican President, George Bush.