Harry Reid: “Poker Alone is Not Going to Work”

Harry Reid: “Poker Alone is Not Going to Work”

Senator Harry Reid has indicated his desire to see online gambling banned at a federal level in the United States, but would also like to see a carved out exemption for online poker.

What hope do American online poker players have when a 75-year old and 81-year old have such a prominent say in the future of online gambling?

Reporting in the Las Vegas Review Journal, Steve Tetreault, conveyed news from the office of the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, on the future of online gambling – and it wasn’t good news.

The former chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission agreed with Sheldon Adelson’s view that online gambling should be banned in the U.S. when he said:

Harry Reid: “Poker Alone is Not Going to Work”“I think the proliferation of gambling on the Internet is not good for our country. I think it is an invitation to crime. I think it is hard to control for crime when you’ve got brick-and-mortar places, let alone something up in the sky someplace, and it is very bad for children.”

It’s desperately sad when these statements seem to be plucked out of people’s backsides, with no evidence whatsoever of the legitimacy of the worry. The confusion also reeks of a hidden agenda as Reid says, “If there is a chance to (legalize) poker, I will do that, but I am not for the Wire Act.”

Since when did it become easier to police online poker from ‘in the sky someplace?’ Aren’t the measures needed to create a regulated framework for online poker exactly the same as online gambling? And as PokerUpdate scribe Steve Ruddock points out, doesn’t the U.S. (And the rest of the world for that matter) do rather well creating secure environments for Amazon, eBay, and any other modality of currency exchange over the Internet?

I have an idea.

Why don’t the old timers look at the current operations in Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey? If there is evidence that children are pilfering their parent’s bank accounts, running up millions of dollars in debt, and beating each other half to death, then let’s ban it. If the crime statistics have increased as a result of online gambling, then let’s ban it. If there is an increase in homelessness and destitution directly related to online gambling then let’s ban it.

Just don’t stick your finger in your mouth, lick it and then prod it into the air.

But don’t fret. If the confused stance of Reid is leading you to believe he is in bed with Adelson then he’s not. When asked if there was a gentlemen’s agreement for Reid to support Adelson’s widespread abomination of online gambling, in return for his help to get Reid re-elected, he said:

“Sheldon Adelson and I have been friends for a long time but on politics he and I don’t agree, so we don’t do politics. I’m glad he joined my position (on Internet gambling), but no, there was nothing.”

That’s ok then.

Reid also said that the only way online poker will pass through the Congress chain, would be if it was attached to the back of a bill banning all other forms of gambling. There was no mention of why. Just a mention that ‘poker alone is not going to work.’

“We tried that.” Said Reid.

One doubts that Mr. Reid reached his position of power by trying things only once and then moving on, but there you are.