The online poker industry has been constantly battling to gain approval in the United States and so far only Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware have legalized online poker. There are a number of other states who are currently contemplating the legalization of online gambling but their efforts could very well go in vain.
A federal ban on all forms of online gambling is currently being pushed through the House of Representatives and if it gets approved, it will then be sent to the Senate for final approval. The bill that calls for a blanket ban on all forms of online gambling is being funded and backed by billionaire and Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson.
Senator Harry Reid recently went on record to say that he would first try to get an exemption on online poker but if he is unable to do so, then he will throw his support behind the federal bill and push for a blanket ban on all forms of online gambling. Reid has tried in the past to get support to save online poker but has been unable to get the number of votes he requires.
In a statement, Reid said
I worked very hard to get online poker,” he said. “I thought (it) would be great for the state of Nevada, it’s something that is done recreationally around the world. I thought it would be great for Nevada to get it controlled. That didn’t work, could not get it done. Unless we can get something done with poker, I’m going to look closely — I haven’t made up my mind — but I’m going to look closely into banning it totally. I’m going to take a hard look at it. It would be something I would certainly consider strongly.
Online gambling activists are actively campaigning for the legalization of online gambling but they have to deal with heavyweights like Sheldon Adelson, Steve Wynn and Senator Reid. These online gambling campaigners are hoping that MGM Resorts and Caesars will use their influence to stop the bill from being passed. Both MGM Resorts and Caesars are pushing for the legalization of online gambling as they believe that it will help their expand their brand worldwide and build a bigger customer base.
The illegal gambling industry in the United States will flourish if Congress decides to issue a blanket ban. The Senate will have to carefully analyze the pros and cons before making a final decision in the weeks to come.