Last updated: January 23, 2013 - 8:25am
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) had promised Nevada’s gambling industry a federal law to legalize Internet poker by the end of 2012, calling it the state’s “most important issue” since the nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain was scuttled. But in the end, Sen Reid rolled snake eyes. And as the 113th Congress gets under way, the odds of legislation passing are even worse.
Now, questions are mounting over Reid’s handling of the issue, which would legalize Internet poker but bar almost all other online wagering. Why, critics ask, did Sen Reid antagonize Republicans at a critical juncture by attacking the efforts of his Senate colleague Dean Heller (R-NV) to garner GOP support? Why did Sen Reid and former Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) draft a measure so certain to anger powerful stakeholders — from lottery directors to Native American tribes to gaming officials — in states other than Nevada? They say Sen Reid had the best shot ever to have pushed the bill through Congress last year. But he never formally introduced legislation — not because he lacked GOP support, some say, but because he didn’t have enough Democrats with him.