enator Harry Reid has not given up his effort to pass his proposed online poker legislation, even though he failed in his attempt to do so during the lame-duck session. Reid has vowed to bring the bill to the Senate in 2011, and that is where the start of law changes for the industry may occur.
Senator Reid still has plenty of allies in the Senate and House, and the Democrats do still have control of the Senate. It isw conceivable that a bill could come out of the Senate and be moved along to the House, which is where it likely would find the strongest opposition.
President Obama and several members of the Republican party have made it a point to say they will work together in the new year. Whether that is just political talk will be seen soon enough, but there are other reasons outside of bi-partisan politics that Conservatives may start to swing on their Internet gambling stance.
The most obvious is the fact that several states are moving quickly towards online poker regulations. If states regulate online poker, it would be nearly impossible for lawmakers at a federal level to not want a piece of the action. With the 2012 elections around the corner, the last thing that incumbent legislators want is for state lawmakers to show how they have cut their budget deficits successfully.
Any progress that is made on a state level, would have to be either challenged, or adopted federally. If there is anything the past couple of years have shown it is that millions of Americans are gambling online, and if their states regulate their activity, and the federal government tries to step in and block that progress, it will bring more people out to vote in the next election.
Conservatives may be content with the amount of voters that are currently showing up at the polls. As the 2008 election and 2010 mid-term election showed, the more voters that turn out, the better chance the Liberals have of winning.
It is not a slam dunk that online gambling regulations will occur in the next two years, but it also is not out of the question. Reid and his pro-gambling colleagues will have plenty of opportunities to bargain with Conservatives on various bills. Previously, the legislators pushing the issue did not have enough clout to make the process work for them, Reid does.
Many bills will come to the Senate from Republican leaders, and if lawmakers have shown anything, its the willingness to abort their positions on one issue if it means getting something they really care about to pass. That leaves the online gambling industry with enough hope to believe that even if the odds do not look good, the job may get done.