Heller and Kyl Claim GOP Support for Poker Bill, Reid Asks “What the Hell Would I Put it On?”

Mixed messages today regarding online poker’s chances in the lame duck from the co-sponsors of the Reid/Kyl bill.

First, Sen. Harry Reid, who offered a less-than-positive outlook for Reid/Kyl at a Tuesday press conference. View the whole press conference here.  Poker comes in at about the 4:00 mark.

Transcript of Reid’s exchange with reporter

Reporter: Senator Kyl and Senator Heller said today that support for the Internet poker bill is there. Does that um, does that break -

Reid: I’m sorry, what’s that?

Reporter: The Republican support on Internet poker legislation …

Reid: He said what?

Reporter: That the support for Internet poker – they have the Republican votes necessary to pass -

Reid: You know, this is, ah … Everyone, listen to this. We suddenly have Republican votes on Internet poker. Two weeks before Christmas. Without being vulgar, what the hell would I put it on? That wasn’t too vulgar.

The question appears to refer to comments made today by Sen. Jon Kyl to Roll Call, who asserted that Republican Senate support for Reid/Kyl was in the bag:

Kyl said Tuesday that there would be sufficient Republican votes to get the bill around procedural hurdles on the floor, but he cautioned Reid against packaging it into some sort of “Christmas tree” — a term for a bill that is loaded with disparate legislative priorities.

“The problem is how you ever get a bill like that up. If it ever comes up to the Senate, and it’s offered in the appropriate way — that is to say, not part of some bill that nobody’s going to vote for — then there’s no question about Republican votes in my view,” Kyl said.

Sen. Heller’s office echoed Kyl’s assertion in a comment to the Las Vegas Review Journal:

“Senator Heller believes there are sufficient Republican votes, and Senator Kyl agrees,” Heller spokeswoman Chandler Smith said.

Reid also used the press conference to outline his legislative goals for the Senate in the remainder of the lame duck, which include:

More: Read a breakdown of the various players in the online poker regulation debate.

Chris Grove
Chris Grove - Chris is the co-founder and an editor of OnlinePokerReport.com. He's written for dozens of gambling publications and has been involved with various aspects of the online poker industry since 2004.