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Dean Heller vows to work with Harry Reid for online poker in lame duck session

TAGs: dean heller, online poker bill, Wynn Resorts

heller-reid-online-pokerSenator Dean Heller (R-NV) says he can work with his Nevada counterpart, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, to pass an online poker bill during the lame duck session of Congress. Heller made the vow despite the two pols having engaged in a heated and very public war of words last month over strategies to pass such a bill. Heller told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the brouhaha was all down to election year politics, and while he and Reid are “wearing different uniforms and we will be for the next 26 days,” Heller has “no doubt when this race is over, Sen. Reid and I will sit down and say, ‘Okay, we got this behind us now, let’s work together and get this done.’ And I have no doubt that it needs to get done by the end of the year.”

Reid spokesperson Kristen Orthman called Heller’s statement “surprising,” given that the “last we heard, [Heller] wanted the House [of Representatives] to move first on a bill.” Regardless of which legislative chamber takes point, Heller is confident that poker’s unique status as a game in which the players bet each other (not the house) means there will be enough ‘yes’ votes in Congress to ensure the bill’s passage. That stands in stark contrast to the opinion voiced by Wynn Resorts boss Steve Wynn, who this week said he didn’t think the bill “has the legs” to get through the House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, Steve Wynn was the victim of a bit of a judicial tease this week. On Tuesday, US District Judge James Mahan dismissed a shareholder lawsuit brought by the Louisiana Municipal Police Employees’ Retirement System because the cops had failed to meet an Oct. 1 deadline for responding to Wynn’s motion to dismiss. Vegas Inc. reported that Mahan reinstated the suit on Wednesday after somehow discovering the deadline in question was actually Oct. 15. Whoops… Mahan also reinstated three similar suits that have now been rolled into one suit. The suits were launched to protest Wynn Resorts’ questionable $135m donation to the University of Macau in late 2011 and the forced redemption of the shares belonging to Wynn’s former largest shareholder, Universal Entertainment chairman Kazuo Okada in February.

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