Glacial. This is perhaps the best way to describe the progress towards regularising online gambling within the United States. Since the passage of UIGEA back in 2006 the online gaming market in this country has been forced underground, drawing some similarities with the Volstead Act and prohibition. Over the years we have seen and heard many commentators and law makers indications that things will change in this area, but so far to no avail.
Sports betting operations have in the past been targeted using the Wire Act of 1961 and senior individuals in the online gaming business charged with a huge range of crimes including mail fraud, transportation of gambling paraphernalia and RICO charges, which pertain to organised crime. Online poker seems to have a better chance of getting a regularised position and for the past few years we have seen attempts rise and fall in numerous states.
Now we are beginning to see action in a broader scope. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl have now teamed up to to press forward a bi-partisan deal to bring legal online poker at a federal level.
On first glance this would appear to be very good news indeed. However, it should be noted that Jon Kyl was responsible for passing UIGEA through the Senate back in 2006, effectively killing online gaming overnight in the United States. So what about Harry Reid? Well, he is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a group that is actively opposed to all forms of online gambling.
Perhaps they have both experienced a change of heart? A double epiphany? Forgive my scepticism.