Poker Coverage: Poker Tournaments Casino News Sports Betting Poker Strategy

Rep. Joe Barton's Online Poker Bill Introduced

Legislation Has Bipartisan Support from Some of Congress' Heavy Hitters


Rep. Joe BartonRep. Joe Barton’s (R-Texas) mission to implement online poker legislation is officially underway, as the Congressman’s bill was introduced in the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Friday.

Barton, who is scheduled to make the “shuffle up and deal” announcement for an event at the World Series of Poker on Saturday at the Rio Hotel and Casino, released an official statement on his website Friday.

In the press release Barton announced that he is joined by original co-sponsors Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV), Rep. John Campbell (R-CA), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY), Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), Rep. Peter King (R-NY), Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA). Frank and Campbell were the sponsors of another federal online poker bill, but their version appears to be dead.

According to Barton, the driving force behind the bill is consumer protection. “It will create an interstate licensing program for internet poker sites, but at the same time allow states to opt out if they don’t want to participate.” Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle believe Americans should be able to decide from themselves about participating in online poker, which is widely accepted as a game of skill rather than happenstance.

“Poker is an all-American game, and it’s a game that requires strategy and skill. Millions of Americans play poker online. Although it’s legal to play for money, it’s illegal to process the transactions that allow players to collect their earnings,” said Rep. Barton. “We want to have an iron-clad system to make sure that those who play for money are playing in an honest, fair system where they can reap the benefits of their winnings. To put it simply, this bill is about having the personal freedom to play a skill-based game you enjoy without fear of breaking the law.”

Rep. Campbell of California stated, “The discussion surrounding the legalization of online gaming in this country needs to move forward. At this moment, we have otherwise law-abiding American citizens committing a crime simply by playing poker online. I don’t happen to gamble myself, but freedom is not about legislating what I like to do and making illegal what I don’t. Freedom is about allowing responsible Americans do what they happen to enjoy. Clearly, Americans want to gamble on the internet, and policymakers need to provide both the freedom to do so and ensure appropriate consumer protections are in place. Regulating online gaming and making certain that these sites are operating legally in America will also create economic growth through generated tax revenue and the possibility of attracting foreign players to U.S. sites.”

The American Gaming Association released a statement on Barton’s bill, stating its support for the licensing and regulation of online poker in the U.S. “Although the AGA has not endorsed any specific legislation on this issue, we are pleased that Rep. Barton wants to protect American consumers and understands the need for regulating online poker in our country. The millions of Americans who are playing poker online deserve to know they are playing safely with law-abiding operators, but strong enforcement of illegal operators and unambiguous U.S. laws governing online gambling are equally vital. We look forward to continuing to work toward a solution that will meet these two goals and keep the jobs and revenues associated with this billion-dollar industry in the United States.”

The text of H.R.2366 has not yet been received by the Library of Congress. Stay tuned to Card Player for analysis of the bill.



almost 10 years ago

Good first step but its toon soon. The big names in gaming need to make sure thT Pokerstars and Full Tilt are fully dismantled first. Online gaming will be legal and I suspect most brand name casinos will have an online equivalent.. and the return of Party Poker. Give it about a year.