Efforts to legalize Internet gambling appear to be dead for the year, giving tribes more time to discuss the issue on Capitol Hill. Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada), the Senate majority leader, was crafting a bill in hopes of passage during the lame-duck session. But he dropped his plans last week, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. Tribes have sought to be included in discussions although Reid never openly acknowledged their interests and their role in the U.S. gaming industry during his efforts. The Senate Indian Affairs Committee held hearings and listening sessions on a proposed bill that would have only addressed online gaming in Indian Country. "It is our mission to ensure that any internet gaming related legislation must respect existing tribal rights and preserve the sovereign and constitutionally acknowledged governmental status of Indian tribes," Ernie Stevens, the chairman of the National Indian Gaming Association, said in a press release. "Gaming is an integral part of the economies of more than two hundred tribal communities. " "Internet gaming would make a significant impact on the industry, and tribal communities must have fair access to any new gaming market that would be established by Congress. The current draft proposals to legalize Internet gaming ignore the more than 30 years of tribal government experience in regulating and managing gaming operations throughout the United States," Stevens added. Stevens said NIGA hopes to work with Reid on the issue during the 113th Congress. The new chair of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee will be Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Washington), who has a background in the Internet.