Texas Rep. introduces new U.S. online poker bill
After weeks of anticipation, U.S. Representative Joe Barton has unveiled his planned legislation that would legalize and regulate online poker in the United States.
The nuts and bolts
Joe Barton is an influential Republican and member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Interestingly, his bill is called the “Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2011″ — note the “UIGEA”.
The bill already has promising bi-partisan support. Co-sponsors include fellow Representatives Shelley Berkley (D-NV), John Campbell (R-CA), and Steve Cohen (D-TN). Online gambling advocates Barney Frank and Jim McDermott (both Democrats) are also expected to support the bill.
Barton is enjoying the acclaim of the poker world lately. Tomorrow, he’s scheduled to announce “shuffle up and deal” at the World Series of Poker, currently underway in Vegas.
“The Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Internet applauds Rep. Barton for his leadership and efforts to guarantee that consumers are protected from fraud, identity theft and money laundering,” that organization stated in a news release today. “Beyond providing critical protections for consumers, Rep. Barton’s bill would lay the groundwork for creating thousands of jobs and generating billions of dollars to stimulate U.S. economic expansion.”
According to that news release, Barton’s bill holds the U.S. Department of Commerce responsible for monitoring the newly created online gambling industry. And “either state or tribal gaming commissions” would be “responsible for issuing the licenses to applicants that meet the set criteria.”
Credit card problems remain
The bill also, however, “goes too far by unnecessarily prohibiting credit card use for Internet gambling activity.”
“It simply doesn’t make sense to limit the use of credit cards for those seeking to gamble online,” Michael Waxman, the group’s spokesperson, said. “Consumer protections for users of credit cards are much greater than those involving most other forms of payment.
“If someone is interested in using funds from their credit card to gamble online, they are not going to be stopped from doing so. They’ll find less transparent mechanisms to move funds from cards to other payment mechanisms. The solution is to have broad consumer protections in place overall, and the law needs to require that in any case.”
So, while the bill may not be perfect, it’s still likely to generate widespread support throughout the online gambling world.
Barton’s bill’s got company, too. In the U.S. congress, the “Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act (H.R. 1174)”, introduced by Rep. John Campbell (R-CA), and the “Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act of 2011 (H.R. 2230),” introduced by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) earlier this month, await lawmakers’ review.