The Reid Bill Is Dead; Long Live the Reid Bill!

Harry Reid fought the good fight but it may not have been enough.

Over the past 24 hours, we’ve spoken with a number of in-the-know individuals who have all but confirmed that the Reid BillTM is all but dead.

Chances of online poker regulation getting pushed through the lame duck is basically a two-outer on the river now. Even the most optimistic estimate we’ve heard was only “around 20%.”

Not good. Although to paraphrase Lloyd Christmas, “So you’re saying there IS a chance?!”

Some believe next Tuesday is truly the line-in-the-sand day, and that it can still be attached to the tax bill in some form. Others believe that recent public messaging from Senator Reid and the AGA (welcome to the party!) shows there’s movement in the right direction and that it’s still a top agenda item during the last week of the lame duck.

Also, as noted earlier today, New Jersey is likely passing an intrastate online poker bill as early as Monday. California will soon follow. Then D.C. Then Nevada. So while that’s not the ideal scenario, the ball is rolling, and the Fed will have to get involved eventually.

Regardless, how did something that looked so close end up being so far away? As best we can ascertain (<–first use of that word in the history of WCP) here’s the prevailing wisdom:

  • Senator Reid definitely wanted to attach the bill as payback to the Nevada casinos that got him reelected. Democrats’ inability to get on the same page on the tax bill though made it difficult to attach the Reid Bill.
  • Nevada casinos may have gotten a little greedy in the bill’s provisions, causing more push-back then what would’ve occurred had the process been more open.
  • In turn, this pissed off the Indians (they hated the bill). And in possibly the first ever instance of Indians-getting-back-at-the-white-man, they began a phone drive on their representatives and caused resistance.
  • And oh yeah, the PPA, AGA, and all relevant parties shit the bed on getting aggressive in the mainstream media with a concise, coherent, and cohesive message to frame the debate.

And that’s that. In a sense, even if the bill is dead, it may see some new life in the near future.

We’ll wait till next Tuesday to declare our official Winners & Losers of the Reid Bill, but, assuming the bill really is dead, we’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments section. We’ll try to incorporate as many of those suggestions into our post.


3 Responses

  1. sajeffe

    December 10, 2010 5:34 pm, Reply

    Assuming it’s dead? I can’t do that. It may be dead as far as being attached to the tax bill, but it’s entirely possible (not probable) that Congress could remain in session until December 31. There are many key pieces of legislation that need to get passed and seemingly endless sneaky ways to slip a measure in. I’ll assume the Reid bill is dead if it hasn’t passed at the time Congress locks the doors for the year, whether that happens Dec 17 or Dec 31 or whatever date in between.

  2. Conan776

    December 10, 2010 5:56 pm, Reply

    The Nevada casinos got “a little greedy”? The bill gives them everything they wanted. And you don’t even mention how much this bill p.o.’d the players with it’s automatic state opt-out provision for most states, on top of the 15 month blackout for players lucky enough to live in a state that chose to opt in. The last and only state to ban online poker, Washington, did so back in 2006. Forcing the states who’ve stayed mum on this issue in the years since anti-Poker hysteria last swept the nation to have to re-decide how they feel about online gambling now is just a recipe for disaster.

    Big Gambling needs to aim a little lower. Here’s what they should push for:

    1) amending UIGEA to clarify that it doesn’t apply to games of skill
    2) a fair and open licensing scheme in accordance with our obligations under the WTO
    3) standard U.S. business taxes on profits made off U.S. players
    4) a legal framework that makes sure cheaters pay

    And then the casinos can throw a software client up on their websites and compete head to head in the market, and everyone is happy.

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