Last week, we brought you word that during this limited lame-duck session of Congress, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid decided to put his staff to work drafting legislation that would legalize online poker. So long as only "existing casinos, horse tracks and slot-machine makers" operated the poker websites, that is! And only as long at oversight over the websites was put into the hands of state regulators. You know, because the Nevada gaming industry gave Harry Reid all kinds of money, so he could defeat Sharron Angle.
Well, here's some more great news from Ken Vogel and Manu Raju, at Politico:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is trying to use the tax cut package President Barack Obama brokered with Republicans to legalize online poker, POLITICO has learned -- a move that could further complicate the deal Obama announced Monday.
I think there's nothing anyone wants to hear more right now that the words "further complicate." As Vogel and Raju report, Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) is very opposed to the move, and says there is "zero chance" that it will be part of the bill. An unnamed aide says that the "House Republicans will go crazy if this is in the bill," and that "You could call him 'Harrah Reid' at this point." And the unnamed aide has a point: we wish we had come up with "Harrah Reid." Well played, anonymous Congressional aide.
Here's a fun fact about the history of online poker legislation, courtesy of a reader who happens to be an online poker aficianado. Online gaming was actually legal and unregulated until the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 was tacked on to the SAFE Port Act, which was supposed to cover port security. The SAFE Port Act was passed late at night, right before Congress adjourned for the 2006 elections.