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|Posted:20.05.2009, 06:47 Unpopular Senator Reid Faces Online Gambling Question
|Unpopular Senator Harry Reid must face Online Gambling Question
Happy Reid is already suffering from unpopularity in Nevada polls, but now the US Senate Majority Leader has to decide which of his constituents to offend in the online gambling debate.
Voters in the Senator's home state of Nevada are increasingly expressing unhappiness with his performance. US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is faced with finding a position on the divisive issue of regulated online gambling. Reid's Nevada, more than any other state, will likely consider legalizing Internet gambling a very polarizing issue.
A poll by the Las Vegas Review Journal found over 45% of Nevada residents would replace Reid if the election were now, while 35% said they would vote to re-elect. Democrats only supported Reid by 36%, and less than 36% of independents backed Senator Harry Reid.
Meanwhile, Barney Frank's new bill to repeal the UIGEA and regulate online casinos may advance to the Senate, causing Reid to stop waffling and finally choose a side in the online gambling battle. Reid's constituents are split on the issue, says OCA gaming analyst Sherman Bradley, making it likely he alienates some voters no matter his position.
"Reid has opposed licensing Internet casinos in the past, when the land-based casino industry that runs Nevada and speaks through the American Gaming Association was united behind resisting online play," says Bradley. "But now, the AGA is split as to the measure, with very strong feelings on each side."
A Reid spokesman said the Senator knows that gambling is "a very important industry to the state," but also has questions as to whether regulation of online gambling will be effective. Bradley says this type fence jumping will only delay the need for Reid to declare his intentions.
"Facing a tough election campaign, Reid knows he will alienate powerful figures like Steve Wynn if he supports online gambling," speculates Bradley. "But if he goes against the Frank bill, he irritates Harrah's and other casino interests ready to move online. Some workers' groups will feel online venues threaten jobs, but new jobs may be created if Harrah's, for instance, opens a worldwide online poker room."
"The problem for Reid is that there is no safe position. Ironically, the contributors who filled his campaign coffers in the past are fiercely split on this issue, meaning he can no longer placate them all. He might even have to vote for what's right, rather than what's paid for."
Sherman Bradley is a well known and respected OCA gaming analyst.