Lots of rumors swirling every which way on Wednesday regarding the bill’s possible fate, fueled in part by a bit of misleading reporting by the Las Vegas Sun.
Late in the afternoon, the Sun fired off a story with the headline “Harry Reid: Online poker falls off agenda” announcing that the Senate Majority Leader was no longer pursuing having the bill added as a rider to any other legislation, most particularly the tax bill that has taken absolute precedence for this lame-duck Congress.
That headline sounded pretty definitive. But the article itself was much less so. A quote from Reid in the article regarding his plans seemed ambiguous -- that is, it didn’t appear to indicate at all that he’d abandoned the fight to get some sort of licensing and regulatory scheme for online poker in the U.S. passed before the 111th Congress closes up shop.
And, as it turned out, that wasn’t the case at all.
After what I assume was a bit more legwork by the reporter, the article was quickly revised and given a new, very different headline: “Reid’s office: Legalizing online poker still on lame-duck agenda.” According to the updated article, a Reid spokesman explained away the earlier quote, saying “the Senator’s comment got muddled in the cacophony of the Senate hallways.”
Kind of a cacophony, too, on Twitter, in the forums, on various blogs and websites, and elsewhere with regard to this bill -- both in terms of its potential to become law and what exactly would happen should that come to pass.
I had to laugh when yesterday I noticed a new poll over on Two Plus Two in the Poker Legislation forum asking the question “Do you want the ‘Reid bill’ to pass?” The poll’s results show an almost perfect divide between those who want to see it pass and those who do not.
Worth remembering, I think, who exactly is being polled here -- namely, poker players, probably all of whom play online regularly. Collectively, they don’t know what to think about the prospects of this bill, what with its temporary “blackout” period during which online poker apparently will be unavailable to U.S. players (other than via “black market” means), and its subsequent reorientation of the market to favor new casino-run sites and (apparently) sweeping aside the sites on which we presently play for a while. (Or for good?)
Makes me wonder... if the players aren’t even sure about it, how are legislators -- who obviously will be using an entirely different set of criteria to judge whether or not to support the bill -- responding to it?
From what I have heard, if the bill does indeed get added to the tax bill, it will most assuredly be passed. The real question, however, is whether or not Reid will be successful in that quest to get his “Prohibition of Internet Gaming, Internet Poker Regulation and UIGEA Enforcement Act” added.
And as far as that goes, I think anyone who says he or she knows definitively what will happen next is just making more noise -- adding further to the cacophony, you might say.