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Internet Poker Players Reaction to Reid’s Bill for Regulation

14 December 2010 by admin

My mother said beggars cannot be choosers. And this seems to be the case with online poker players and online gambling regulation for the United States. At this point, with the close of the lame duck session drawing nearer, it seems that online poker players will have to take what they can get. And what they can get looks to be Senator Harry Reid’s online gambling regulation bill.

Reid’s bill is brazen in its terms, showing a clear favor of the Nevada casino industry. But then Nevada is Reid’s state and he does owe the Nevada gambling industry from backing him in the mid-term elections; their backing kept Reid in office and Sharron Angle out. Scratch the back that scratches yours apparently. And if Atlantic City benefits along with the Nevada casino industry so be it—they will not be complaining since they could use any revenue opportunities that come their way.

The problem with Reid’s online gambling regulation bill in the eyes of online poker players is that it does not actually have the players’ interests in mind. Sure, it would allow players to play poker online…eventually, but the bill is aimed at giving the Nevada casinos a good chunk of the potential US online gambling market.

According to Reid’s bill any online casino site interested in obtaining a license from the federal government would have to not only stop accepting US players, but would also have to stop them from playing. For fifteen months. Minimum.

But this is still a case of political agenda. Online poker players generally believe that if Reid had not been so heavily backed by the Nevada casino industry in the mid-term elections Reid would still be toting his anti-online gambling; he just does not have the players’ interests at heart. One online poker player, Mark Bannor, said, “I know he [Reid] is only pushing this bill to help his own state. But it does not matter to me. All politicians have an agenda, and it just so happens Reid’s agenda will help us finally get the government to protect us instead of making us feel like criminals.”

Bannor’s sentiments sum up the overall feelings of the online poker community—Reid may not have their interests at heart, but they see that some pro-online gambling regulation legislation is better than none and being stuck with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). And I have to agree with them—something is better than nothing. And it is possible that Reid’s bill could be the opening to future online gambling regulation. What may start with online poker may one day spread to other online casino games. One can only hope.

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