The interwebz has been all a-titter over the discovery of a recent quote by Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) regarding his long-rumored cooperation with Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) on passing federal online poker legislation in 2012. Like a bunch of determined Pennsylvanians coaxing a camera-shy Punxsutawney Phil out of his hole on Groundhog Day, the National Journal managed to coax Kyl out of his cone of silence on the issue of collaborating with Reid on a poker bill. Are you sitting down? Here goes. “Quite possibly something will be done.” Okay, so it’s not exactly the Gettysburg Address, but you gotta admit, that’s an impressive number of qualifiers for a six-word sentence. Then again, the man has been a federal politician since 1987, so he got his black belt in obfuscation some time ago.
Kyl’s caginess adds credence to the theory that the lack of specifics emanating from the Reid and Kyl camps regarding their online poker plans is part of an intentional stealth strategy. The popular scuttlebutt is that the dynamic duo will attempt to attach an online poker provision to a piece of unrelated must-pass legislation à la UIGEA, rather than risk trying to debate online poker’s merits (or lack thereof) live on C-SPAN. Poker Players Alliance exec director John Pappas told PocketFives that passage of online poker legislation would be “much more likely as a rider. There would be a senator or two interested in that.” (Are their names Reid and Kyl?) As for long-time arch enemy of online gambling Kyl’s interest in the matter, Pappas suggested Kyl “isn’t looking at this because he wants people to play online poker; he wants stronger enforcement against that which is not online poker.”
Pappas put the likelihood of an online poker bill making it though the Senate in 2012 at “better than 50/50,” but he noted that time was of the essence, given that Washington’s focus is already turning to the November election. Whether or not you believe Kyl’s stated willingness to quite possibly do something, he’s already announced he won’t seek re-election, so he’ll be out of the picture by next January and thus no longer able to help, hinder, or just plain confuse the hell out of US poker players.