Kyl confirms Adelson chat, won’t say what ‘moral opposition’ means for poker bill

jon-kyl-sheldon-adelson-pokerUS Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) has shed a little more light on the conversation he had last week with Sheldon Adelson re the Las Vegas Sands chairman’s ‘moral opposition’ to online gambling. Steve Tetreault of the Las Vegas Review-Journal spoke to Kyl on Thursday, and Kyl confirmed that the conversation had indeed taken place, although he wasn’t exactly forthcoming with the specifics. “I always listen to Sheldon. He is a very bright guy, very well motivated and I always find what he says is very interesting.” (Unlike, say, Jon Kyl.)

While some sources have been touting the notion that Kyl is actively engaged with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in crafting a bi-partisan online poker bill that may or may not surface before Congress breaks for the holidays, Kyl would neither confirm nor deny these rumors. “That is all hypothetical stuff. I don’t even know what bill you are talking about.” Sen. Reid’s peeps have said little, but a ‘Senate source’ told the LVRJ that Reid and Kyl “have spoken about the issue in the past and discussions are ongoing.” For the record, some writers have spoken in the past with the hottie barista down at the local Starbucks about “grabbing a muffin,” and discussions are ongoing. Should be interesting to see who makes more progress: us or Reid.

Other Nevada casino titans have since responded to Adelson’s public declaration of his moral opposition. Caesars Entertainment senior VP Jan Jones said Adelson “has long been concerned about underage gaming on the internet, but it’s happening now and it’s totally uncontrolled. His concerns are real, but I’m not sure he really understands the issue. Doing nothing is not being responsible.”

Noting that many of Jones’ peers at other Nevada casino companies were also on board with regulated online poker, Nevada Democratic congresswoman Shelley Berkley (co-sponsor of Rep. Joe Barton’s online poker bill) questioned whether Adelson had enough clout on his own to doom online poker legislation. But if Adelson has convinced Kyl to make an anti-online gambling stand (and we doubt that would take a whole lot of arm-twisting), the Republican whip could make any online poker bill’s passage in the Senate (where 60 votes are needed) difficult, if not impossible.