The Fight: UIGEA Anniversary, Bad News From Harry Reid

It has been five years to the day since the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) changed the direction of online poker forever. Plenty has changed over the past five years, but the post-Black Friday climate feels all too familiar, especially in the wake of recent news that regulated online gambling in the US is not at the forefront of politicians’ minds at the moment.  Here is the latest on the political and online poker fronts in this edition of The Fight:

Sen. Harry Reid Has Bigger Fish to Fry

Senator Harry Reid has always been one of the chief  supporters of regulating online gambling in the US, but a recent report from the Las Vegas Sun indicates that online poker is the last thing on Reid’s mind at the moment.

In the article, the Sun runs down the current attitudes surrounding legislation to implement regulated online gambling in the United States, pointing out that numerous online poker supporters like Rep. Shelley Berkely and Rep. Barney Frank pledged to donate the political contributions from Full Tilt Poker and the Poker Players Alliance (PPA).

It appears bad timing and the increasingly complicated legal situation surrounding the Black Friday indictments are deterring politicians from moving on the issue.  Even Reid admits it is not a priority for him right now.

“Online poker, frankly, is way back in my head,” Reid told the Sun.

Brick and Mortar Casinos Remain Optimistic About Online

The politician’s enthusiasm for online gaming may be waning, but the brick and mortar casino operations in the US still believe branching out into the internet is the right moves.  Shortly after South Point unveiled plans to start free play online gaming bearing its name, MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren delivered a speech to the annual Global Gaming Expo (G2E) announcing his company’s intention to branch out into online gaming as well.

“The demographics of [online] gamers are really right in the strike zone of the gaming industry,” Murren explained, according to the Wall Street Journal.  The group’s plan is to launch a social game in the vein of Farmville where players can build up their own casino empires.  According to Murren, the company believes gamers and gamblers are on, “a collision course.”

Casinos Coming to Massachusetts

Today the Massachusetts state legislature passed a measure that will bring three brick and mortar casinos to the state of Massachusetts as well as a slots parlor.  The news is good for Massachusetts residents looking for a casino closer to their homes, but for online grinders hoping for news of intrastate gambling, there has been little movement on the issue.

Looking Back on the UIGEA

Noted poker blogger and reporter Martin Harris of Hard Boiled Poker took some time today to reflect on the UIGEA’s passage.  Follow along with him as he retraces the course of online poker during the past five year in his latest entry in his popular blog.

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