Change of heart for Harry on internet gambling?

Top Democrat from Nevada supported the postponement of the UIGEA, but is that reason to hope?

The Poker Players Alliance appears to think that there has been a change of heart for the good in the attitude of veteran Nevada Democrat Senator Harry Reid, a powerful and influential politician in both his home state and in Washington DC.

Senator Reid has traditionally taken a generally neutral stance similar to that adopted by the American Gaming Association when it comes to Internet gambling and its legalisation in the United States, but there can be no denying that his support for the concept would be a significant positive for the industry.

Whether such a road to Damascus epiphany has taken place, only time will tell, but the PPA feels that Reid's little-publicised support for the postponement of the UIGEA may be a positive indication.

John Pappas, Executive Director of the PPA said this week: "We're not sure he's come around on the issue of licensing and regulation yet, but we think he recognizes there's some serious failures in the UIGEA. He supported the idea of delaying it. He sent that letter [to Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner], so we're very encouraged by that."

Pappas added that Reid's support for the UIGEA postponement could be an important element in the senior politician's 'evolution' on the Internet gambling issue.

The lobbying information site Open Secrets.org reveals that the PPA support comes in a small but tangible form; the million strong membership poker body donated $6 000 this year to groups supporting Reid.

"We're anxious to continue educating him that the UIGEA failure is why the most logical alternative is licensing and regulation," Pappas said.
"I think it's impressive that he recognized the failure of the UIGEA, and hopefully the next step is for him to recognize that licensing and regulation is the way to go."

However, Pappas cautioned that there was still a "lot of work" to do on Reid.

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