On Tuesday, Politico published an article revealing that U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was attempting to add a bill legalizing online poker to the measure extending tax cuts.

Politico confirmed Reid’s desires with Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT). Hatch told the political news outlet, “They’re trying. Sen. Reid would like to do that.” Despite Hatch’s confirmation that Reid was attempting to add an online poker rider to the tax bill, Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), one of the masterminds of the original Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), would not allow the plan to come to fruition. Kyl told Politico, “[There is] zero chance – no chance whatsoever that would be part of the tax deal. I don’t think it would be the right thing to do.”

Further complicating the matter is an agreement reached between U.S. President Barack Obama and Congressional Republicans. Whether Reid will be able to inject a measure that many consider to be a favor for Caesars Entertainment (formerly Harrah’s Entertainment) and MGM Resorts International, two of his biggest financial supporters, remains to be seen. One Congressional staff member told Politico, “You could call him ‘Harrah Reid’ at this point.”

Also coming out against Reid’s online poker legislation is the National Indian Gaming Association, which told Politico on Tuesday, “[The bill] is drafted to create an initial regulatory monopoly for Nevada and New Jersey for the first several years, which gives Las Vegas operators time to capture the market.” Several draft versions of the bill show that the U.S. market would only be open to existing land-based casino companies for the first two years. Then, other gambling outfits could join the fray and offer online poker.

Not optimistic about the chances of Reid’s legislation passing was Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA) Chairman Joe Brennan, who told Poker News Daily on Wednesday, “Based on reports, it seems highly unlikely given the tax deal cut by President Obama that Senator Reid will have the leverage necessary to include this bill as part of the tax relief package.”

The Politico article was referenced in a barrage of stories on Wednesday, including one that appeared in the Huffington Post. Meanwhile, Capitol Weekly sourced a draft of the bill as saying, “The provisions of this title shall supersede any provisions of the law of any state or tribe relating to internet gambling facilities, including internet poker facilities.” In essence, according to Capitol Weekly, “Reid’s bill would throw a monkey wrench into an effort by the Morongo Band of Mission Indians to push forward a tribe-run internet poker franchise in California.”

Language in Reid’s bill, a draft of which appeared on Politico’s website and clocked in at 157 pages, read in part, “A new market should be limited, at least initially, to service providers that have an established track record of complying with a strict regulatory environment, have an established track record of providing fair games to consumers, and have significant goodwill and assets at stake, in addition to their internet poker assets, to ensure they would comply strictly with the new regulatory regime.”

The text also mandates, “No qualified body may issue a license under this title before the date that is 15 months after the date of the enactment of this Act.” What would happen to the online poker industry in the United States during so-called the 15-month “blackout period” is not clear. Posters on forums like TwoPlusTwo and PocketFives.com, however, have been up in arms over the 15-month restriction.

According to The Hill, the “lame duck” Congressional session will wrap up next Friday.

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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.

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