Senators Reid and Kyl No Longer Certain About Their Online Poker Legislation in 2012

Senator Jon Kyl also wasn't hopeful and said "I am not saying that it's parochial or special legislation, but it's not sequestration and the fiscal cliff and defense bill and all that, so it would be hard, …don't infer from that I wouldn't like to see something done."

What the Online Poker Bill Hoped to Accomplish

The ultimate goal of the Reid and Kyl poker bill was to legalize online poker within the United States. U.S. casinos could open up websites allowing residents to play their favorite poker games online. In return, the casinos would pay 14% in taxes on the revenues they earn. Of those tax revenues, 2% would go to the federal government, while 14% would go to the state. States would have the right to opt in or opt out as they see fit.

The provisions that require companies to stick to a five-year waiting period when applying for an online poker license is also a bone of contention. Some feel that waiting period punishes newer casinos.

A number of casinos, such as Caesars and MGM, immediately sent in applications to allow them to start preparing sites for online poker.

What Happens Next

Hopes are that once the President and Congress agree on a budget, discussions regarding the legalization of online poker can come to the forefront. There are also concerns that some of the wording in the bill goes against the Constitution, so it would need amendments to avoid court challenges.

In addition, some politicians are afraid that online poker will open the door to problem gambling. They want to know that there are safety measurements in place to help avoid gambling addictions. Spokespeople for both senators made it clear that the bill is a draft and that changes are likely to be made before it is passed.