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US Online Gambling Safe For Now, But What About 2015?

Online gaming in the US has made it through 2014 largely intact – not a bad feat when you consider the significant financial and political pressure it was coming under throughout much of the year from its outspoken opponents.

Sheldon Adelson
Sheldon Adelson

The most heat was coming from a political bill that was being championed by Las Vegas gambling identity Sheldon Adelson, who was using his significant finances to wage war in an attempt to protect his land based casino interests.

Figures that are in Adelson’s sphere were drawn into his campaign against online gaming through association with campaign and political party funding, and other less than subtle methods.

But while Adelson’s Restoration of America’s Wire Act bill did not make it onto the agenda of the US Congresses final days and spending bill before the New Year, there has been a noted last minute changing of position by a senior political figure which seems to indicate that online gambling will continue to be embroiled in a political fight in 2015.

A Change Of Position?

The Nevada Gaming Commission
The Nevada Gaming Commission

Reports emanating out of Las Vegas suggest that outgoing Senate Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid is about to change positions, and reverse his long help position of support from online gaming to one that is against, with a minor caveat in relation to poker.

Senator Reid represents the state of Nevada, home to Las Vegas and home to some of the world’s biggest and most famous land based casinos, who have for the most part taken a neutral to favourable position on internet gaming.

Senator Reid has a long history of representing these casinos interests, and in the past has actively lobbied to try to get legislation introduced into Congress which would see the legalisation of online poker. Senator Reid has also previously held the position of chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission.

So why the change of heart from Senator Harry Reid? As usual, the devil is in the detail.

Is It About Jobs? Or A Particular Job

Senator Reid is a member of the Democrat Party, and in 2016 elections will be held for the elected position that he currently holds within the US Congress. A strong challenge is expected to come from Republican and current Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval for Senator Reid’s seat that he currently occupies in the US Senate.

Rumour has it that significant Republican Party financial supporter and anti-online gambling figure Sheldon Adelson would reduce or cease his funding of a planned Congress challenge by Governor Sandoval on Senator Reid’s position.

Adelson has contributed millions upon millions over the years to his cause and the Republican Party, and any decrease in this income stream could only be seen as a favourable outcome to Senator Reid and his attempts to keep his job in 2016 and onwards.

Apparently Senator Reid’s role in all this was to see the introduction of Adelson’s Restoration of America’s Wire Act bill into the final sittings of the US Congress for 2014, which history has now shown us, did not happen.


Sheldon Adelson’s Restoration of America’s Wire Act bill is not dead in the water yet though and Senator Reid’s publicly performed backflip indicates that it will continue to live on and be an on-going presence throughout 2015.

Senator Reid will certainly be kept busy trying to retain his Congress job and it would appear that he has now tied his loyalties to the proverbial mast.

In a new piece of thinking he has suggested that it would be best for all online gambling to be banned, and then a later date, an amendment be introduced which legalises only the online poker sector.

This new position, which pretty much lays out Senator Reid’s path going forward, aims to keep some of his old acquaintances onside, while preserving a part of his political legacy.

With this new alignment having taken place, and a change in the political makeup of the Senate in 2015, it looks to be shaping up as another tough year for US online gaming, and we can expect the next power move to come sooner than later.