Texas Congressman Joe Barton is the latest Representative to introduce a Federal Online Poker bill. Barton’s bill would legalize online poker at the Federal level, while allowing states that aren’t interested to opt out of igaming entirely.
In a statement to the press, Barton described poker players as being American as Mom and apple pie and in need of protection from unscrupulous offshore operators:
Poker is an all-American game. It’s a game that I learned as a teen and continue to play today. Just like millions of other players I enjoy the strategy and skill involved. I continue to be supportive of the Americans who play poker online. They deserve to have a legal, on-shore system that makes sure everyone is playing in an honest, fair structure.
Barton’s Internet Poker Freedom Act, is an entirely different piece of legislation than the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act of 2013, which was introduced by New York Representative Peter King earlier this year. King’s bill covered much of the same ground, but allowed for all types of casino games, not just poker.
(It should also not be confused with the Kyl-Reid Act which was killed late last year.)
Any type of Federal bill would be great news for corporate casino companies who prefer a single Federal regulatory framework to a patchwork of state regulations.
That said, it’s not likely anyone will be holding their breath while waiting for this bill to become a law. The 112th US Congress is not only the most unpopular in U.S. history, it’s also on track to be the most unproductive. (They have, however, voted 33 times to repeal Obamacare.)
So while Barton’s bill would be a nice gift to his corporate buddies, it’s not likely to take the journey from bill to law anytime soon.
Do you think Congress can get its act together long enough to pass a Federal Poker Bill? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.