Utah Lawmakers Weigh In On Reid Poker Bill
||Las Vegas Review-Journal (NV)
||Friday, December 10, 2010
Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch says he is keeping his distance from the machinations over Sen. Harry Reid's Internet poker bill in the Senate's lame duck session.
Hatch, a Republican, tells the Salt Lake Tribune today he wants nothing to do with the issue and he doubts it will succeed. But he added, “It’s Harry, you never know.”
`“Everybody knows that I don’t like gambling, but on the other hand it is a legitimate business in his state,” Hatch told the paper. “Apparently he’s promised some of his people in Nevada that he’s going to try to do that for them, even though he probably personally finds it repugnant.”
The bill to legalize online poker would require Internet sites to block access to players from states that don't want their residents to participate, which would likely include Utah.
Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz said he was "vehemently opposed" to the Reid bill.
“The federal government is somehow sanctioning gambling, I don’t think that’s what our federal government should be doing,” he told the paper.
The Utah paper pointed out that Reid, like Chaffetz and Hatch, is a member of the Mormon church and that then-church president Gordon Hinckley urged followers in a 2005 speech to "don't start" gambling or playing poker, or "quit now while you can do so."
In January when Republicans take charge of the U.S. House, Chaffetz is set to become chairman of the subcommittee that oversees the District of Columbia. He also is likely to seek a role if there is any attempt to legalize online poker through federal legislation next year, according to Utah observers.
As a measure of his opposition to gambling, Chaffetz signalled he plans to have something to say about the D.C. city council this week passing an amendment that would legalize online poker and fantasy sports gambling through the DC Lottery.
"I'm not sure how Congress will weigh in, but I will make sure my colleagues know about this, and I expect there will be a lot of resistance," Chaffetz told the Washington Times.