iGaming Bill's Fate May Lie with Nevada's Top Senator

August 10, 2010 (CAP News Wire) – Now that Barney Frank and Jim McDermott’s efforts to get online gambling regulated and legalized in the U.S. seem to have some momentum, many are speculating on what it’ll take to push the legislation into its next phase.

Of course, everyone wants to know whether or not U.S. President Barack Obama would ultimately support such legislation. But, more importantly for the present time, is whether or not Senator Harry Reid will support it. Reid is the Senate Majority Leader, the most powerful Senator in the U.S. Congress. And he is also the most powerful national politician from Nevada, the center of all things gambling in America.

“How Nevada’s casino industry would fit into the world of legal Internet gaming is unclear,” writes Sean Collins Walsh at the Reno Gazette-Journal. “For years, Las Vegas casinos opposed legalization, fearing it would decrease gamblers’ desire to visit the Silver State.

“Provisions in Frank’s bill, however, may clear a path for Nevada companies to profit from digital gaming because they did not violate the 2006 ban.”

The article raises another interesting point: “Companies like FullTilt.com and PartyPoker.com, which are based overseas, have been accepting bets from U.S. citizens illegally and would not receive a license under the bill. Nevada casinos like Harrah’s Entertainment, which owns the World Series of Poker and backed the bill, could then step in and lead the Internet gambling market.”

In this the author may be mistaken — PartyGaming has long since made amends with the U.S. government and has, in the past year, been working hard to set up operations in the U.S. that would allow it legitimate access to the Internet gambling market here. For example, it recently opened an office in California.

In truth, the bill is being called a “long shot” even by some of those who just voted for it. “That’s because the window to get anything passed is quickly closing. Congress is set to take a seven-week recess, leaving a two-week window in late September before the session breaks again prior to mid-term elections,” writes Rich Blake at ABC News. “And then there is the looming possibility of a lame duck session which, which according to the Financial Services Committee staffer, does not bode well for passage of anything.”