As reported by Politico, Reid allied himself with Republican Senator Jon Kyl to draft a bill that would federalize online poker and ban states from offering ALL other forms of Internet gambling. This would inoculate casinos in Reid’s state of Nevada from competition along with tons of Indian casinos in Kyl’s state of Arizona. In effect the Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection and Strengthening UIGAE Act of 2012 has made state lotteries enemy number one!
Many states from DC to California are contemplating offering online gambling, which has casinos in Nevada and Arizona shaking in the boots because it could kill their “game.” Something smells rotten and Messieurs Reid and Kyl seem to be the main bearers of the stench. Both Senators’ campaign donations probably show huge donations from the American Gaming Association, Indian casinos and other big commercial casinos.
Despite Nevada’s 12% unemployment rate, well above the national average of 8%, Reid wrote a letter to Nevada Senator Dean Heller that federalizing online poker was “the most important issue facing Nevada since Yucca Mountain.” (For reference, Yucca Mountain was the proposed location where the federal government wanted to dump America’s entire nuclear waste.) This hardly seems to meet the Yucca factor.
Senate Majority Leader Reid appears to be intent on pushing an anti-competitive gaming bill that not only violates states’ rights under the 10th amendment but also flies in the face of the Justice Department’s review of the matter. In 2011, the Department of Justice reviewed the 1961 Interstate Wire Act and found it only prohibits Internet sports gambling not other forms of online betting.
States depend upon lottery revenues to support public education and other programs. Lottery revenues also help create jobs and boost state economies through retail locations, small and big businesses, which sell lottery tickets and in turn make money to hire people. In 2009, the 44 states with lotteries made $17.6 billion in revenue and in 2010 that increased to $17.9 billion of revenue, which supported state budgets and provided critical services to residents, particularly the poor.