Barton's Online Poker Bill Unveiled

The online poker bill from Republican Congressman Joe Barton has been introduced We are all aware what has happened to previous bills, and to some this one is set to go down no hope road, but to others it does offer at least a glimmer of hope for regulation and legalization of online poker at a federal level. The bill, called the Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2013 is all about making the game regulated online much the same as it is in land based casinos in some states. It allows for states to opt out should they not wish to participate and it also recognizes the US v DiCristina court ruling that declared poker a game of skill. At least in this bill there is some honesty about the way things are at the moment in the US, and it states that, “There is uncertainty about the laws of the United States governing Internet poker, though not about laws governing Internet sports betting. In United States v. DiCristina a Federal District Court for the Eastern District of New York held that poker is a game in which skill is the predominant factor in determining the outcome and that in passing the Illegal Gambling Businesses Act, Congress only intended to criminalize clear games of chance.”

Early Pessimism

Although the bill, introduced last Thursday, appears to cover key areas, there are already many doubting it's ability to get very far. It talks about effective ways to stop underage gambling, ways to help and treat problem gamblers, prevents money laundering and allows for self exclusion too....most of the things we already see in the regulated markets of the world. The bill will only allow for licenses to be granted to existing land based establishments with at least 500 slots, and cardrooms with 175 tables and also includes entrance for Tribal casinos. However there is a good chance that opposition will come from states like New Jersey that wish to go it alone and there are many doubters in the poker playing community. Many believe that there is simply too much opposition in general to gambling and that this bill is purely pro-gambling with no prohibition clauses involved. There is also no real strengthening on the processing side of things, and although UIGEA made an attempt at stopping online gaming in the states, all it has really done is slow things down somewhat. Barton is very well respected so that gives the bill some hope, however it always comes down to the same thing and many naysayers will always argue, that there is not strong enough support for a bill such as this, nor is there strong enough support for a full prohibitive bill.