One of the most vociferous and cunning anti-online gambling politicians to walk the corridors of power on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, retired Arizona senator Jon Kyl, is to return to his old stamping ground after being named as the temporary replacement for recently deceased Sen. John McCain.
The death of McCain before the completion of his full 6-year term of office left a gap that must by law be filled until a special election in 2020 is held to fill the final two years of McCain’s term.
Kyl, along with Congressional lawmakers like Bob Goodlatte, Bill Frist and Jim Leach, was the driving force that finally managed to push through the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, rather deviously attached to the coat tails of the must-pass SAFE Port Act in a late night sitting towards the end of a Congressional session.
The legislation wreaked havoc on the nascent online gambling industry in the United States and had far reaching and generally negative effects (see previous reports).
Kyl eventually retired from Congress as a Republican senator from Arizona in 2012 after three terms in office spanning 18 years, but has now been recalled to fill the gap left by the death of fellow Arizona senator McCain.
Local media reports note that Kyl has said that he will not be seeking re-election, and has agreed only to serve as McCain’s substitute until the 2020 special election.
Industry observers have already noted that Kyl’s re-entry to Senate politics comes at an interesting time, with legalised sports betting spreading among individual states following the overthrow of the restrictive federal PASPA legislation in May this year by the US Supreme Court.
Democratic Party senators Orrin Hatch and Chuck Schumer have already indicated an interest in pushing for federal legislative involvement in the burgeoning sports betting sector, moves which are opposed by individual states and the American Gaming Association, but are supported by the national sports leagues which have strongly opposed every attempt to strike down PASPA over the last few years, but would now like a cut of the action.
They see Kyl as a likely ally in any legislative attempts to impose federal laws that may emerge (there have been none so far).