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Mid-Term Elections Looming; Online Gamblers Brace For The Worst

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The mid-term elections are just over a week away, and that is not good news for the online gambling industry. It is expected that the Republican Party will take control of the House of Representatives in the election, making it unlikely that new regulations are near.

Representative Barney Frank has for several years claimed that he wanted the Internet gambling laws in the US changed. Rep. Frank, however, has been slow to push through a bill that would have overturned the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, and now with the balance of power shifting, the bill may be all but dead.

"The only chance that the online gambling laws change in the next couple of years is if it happens during a lame duck session in Congress," says Gaming Analyst Steve Schwartz. "A Republican-lead House will not overturn the work of a former Republican Congress, so Frank must move quickly after the election if any laws are going to change."

The bill that Frank has proposed has bi-partisan support, but the majority of the lawmakers that are in favor of the legislation are liberals. The Republicans are expected to gain the number of seats necessary to seize control of the House, while the Democrats should keep their majority in the Senate.

If the projections hold true, it will be the Senate that would likely push for the online gambling regulations. Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid is in a battle for his seat in Nevada, and if he survives, he could lead the movement towards Internet gaming regulations.

Nevada casinos have long been against online gambling in the US, but with the economy continuing to drive down business, several gaming companies in Nevada have changed their stance. Harrah's Entertainment is the most notable, already launching online casinos in jurisdictions where online gambling is regulated.

If Reid has the support of the casino owners in his state, he may be the go-to guy for online gambling enthusiasts. Reid's office has stated that the senator would be willing to consider legislation that legalizes online poker.

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