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Barring a Christmas miracle, it seems as though the battle for legal online poker will wage on for another year.

Several sources close to Congress have stated that Senator Harry Reid’s poker bill will not come to a vote before the current session lets out. After nearly a year of strong gains in the pro-poker camp, the recent Republican appointments throughout the governmental system have thrown up several roadblocks in the complicated legalization and regulation process.

While the battle continues to rage on at the state level, this comes as a blow to the momentum of the national movement. The Poker Players of America, having championed Reid’s bill since its inception, is taking the news rather hard.

“We are disappointed that Congress failed to act and provide the necessary consumer protections and sensible oversight over this multi-billion dollar industry,” said PPA Executive Director John Pappas in an email to ESPN. “Sadly, some politicians remain with their heads firmly in the sand. The leadership of the Poker Players Alliance got the debate this far and we are determined to see this through.”

The bottom line here is simple. American poker players should see no change in the government’s current stance until next year. This means that, while no protection is available to them, they will still be able to use their established methods to participate in the online games. Money may still be won and lost, and cashouts and deposits will still be available.

While it’s not necessarily a case of “No news is good news,” players can still feel blessed that sites such as Full Tilt and PokerStars remain open to American customers. And the added time between now and the next congressional session may allow the PPA and its allies to drum up more support for the bill.

Time will tell. But for now, play on.