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'Not Gonna Happen': Number-Two Senate Republican Rips Reid's Online Poker Push

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s effort to make online poker legal again could become a late add-on to a bill extending the Bush tax cuts, a possibility that a top GOP lawmaker Wednesday soundly denounced.

“It’s not gonna happen,” the Senate’s number-two Republican, Jon Kyl, replied when asked by ABC News if Reid’s online poker push could make it into the bill.

As ABC News has reported, Reid’s measure would change the Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which in 2006 indirectly outlawed online gambling by making it illegal to use a credit card or checking account to place online bets. Now Reid wants to change the law to permit existing U.S.-based casinos and slot-machine makers to operate legal Internet poker websites.

According to a draft of the bill, Reid’s measure would legalize online poker in the US, establish licensing and reporting requirements for companies, provide new safeguards for consumers, and generate tax revenue from wagers for state and local governments.

But Reid’s online poker push has drawn the ire of congressional Republicans. GOP lawmakers such as Kyl have vowed to prevent Reid’s poker measure from becoming part of the tax bill. In addition, other Capitol Hill critics have argued that the Nevada lawmaker’s effort is nothing more than a favor for casinos based in his home state.

Meanwhile, the gambling industry could be rankled by the fact that Reid has apparently chosen not to follow Rep. Barney Frank’s lead and legalize forms of online gambling other than poker. Frank’s bill passed the House Financial Services Committee in July, but has since stalled.

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