The Corner

Reid: Legalize Online Poker in Tax Deal

Sen. Harry Reid, who indicated earlier today that he was not sure if he had the votes in the Senate to pass the Obama-GOP tax compromise, has decided the bill is the perfect vehicle for a measure to legalize online poker, reports Politico.

Reid received about $700,000 in campaign funds this election cycle from casinos and other gambling companies according to the Center for Responsive Politics, including nearly $200,000 from MGM Resorts International (the top contributor to his campaign) and around $85,000 from Harrah’s Entertainment. Over his entire congressional career, Reid has received a whopping $1.7 million from casino and gambling interests.

Casinos also actively pressured their Nevada employees to vote for Reid, as a series of e-mails obtained by National Review’s Elizabeth Crum showed.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the legislation “would allow only existing casinos, horse tracks and slot-machine makers to operate online poker websites for the first two years after the bill passes.” The two-year moratorium on non-existing companies could give the current casinos a crucial edge in capturing the market.

Sen. Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.) told Politico that there was “zero chance – no chance whatsoever that would be part of the tax deal. I don’t think it would be the right thing to do.”

Reps. Spencer Baucus (R., Ala.), Dave Camp (R., Mich.), and Lamar Smith (R., Tex.), the top Republicans in the Financial Services, Ways and Means, and Judiciary committees respectively, wrote a letter to Reid and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R., Kentucky) last week that detailed their opposition to any measure legalizing gambling online. “We have heard report that certain interests might be pushing the Senate to attach such a bill to a ‘must pass’ measure because they have calculated that a secretive, closed-door, undemocratic process represents their best opportunity to regain access to the U.S. market,” they wrote.

Adding that any online gambling legalization required “careful deliberation” and “expertise in the payment systems, experience in criminal justice and proficiency in tax policy,” the lawmakers warned against trying to pass the legislation quickly.

In 2006, a bill that included a ban on online gambling passed the House by a wide margin, 317 to 93.

Katrina Trinko — Katrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

Most Popular

Culture

Courage: The Greatest of Virtues

Dear Reader (Or Listener), As the reporter assigned the job of writing the article about all of Sidney Blumenthal’s friends and supporters told his editor, I’m going to have to keep this short. I’ve spent most of every day this week in a studio recording the audiobook version of my dead-tree/pixel ... Read More
Immigration

My American Dream

This morning, at 8 a.m., I did something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember: I became an American. I first applied for a visa in early 2011, and since then I have slowly worked my way through the system — first as a visa-holder, then as a permanent resident (green card), and, finally, as a ... Read More
U.S.

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More
Religion

Billy Graham: Neither Prophet nor Theologian

Asked in 1972 if he believed in miracles, Billy Graham answered: Yes, Jesus performed some and there are many "miracles around us today, including television and airplanes." Graham was no theologian. Neither was he a prophet. Jesus said "a prophet hath no honor in his own country." Prophets take adversarial ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More