Online Poker Could Become Legal in U.S. With Proposed Bill

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Further, advocates of federal regulation say, giving the states a free hand to set gambling standards would result in a regulatory "race to the bottom," where one state would have an economic incentive to make its regulations more lax than its neighbor's, to increase its gaming business and thus its tax revenues.

The prospects for passage of Reid's bill, which he has yet to introduce, are not great, the senator has said.

In comments reported this week by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Reid noted that although his draft now had, for the first time, bipartisan support, there was no suitable bill to which his language could be attached as an amendment.

"Everyone, listen to this," the paper quoted him as saying. "We suddenly have Republican votes on Internet poker, two weeks before Christmas. Without being vulgar, what the hell would I put it on?"

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