Updated: Rep. Joe Barton has released the full text of the bill, naming it the “Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2011.” The bill provides for the federal government to regulate online poker, and for licensed states to operate online poker businesses. It also creates stricter provisions for the pre-existing UIGEA laws, better enforcing online gambling. Early analysis says that Barton’s bill does not include some of more unpopular aspects of past federal attempts, such as Harry Reid’s and Barney Frank’s attempts, and has a greater chance of success. Full text of bill.
If there’s anything that should be encouraging American online poker players, it is the clear and sustained momentum of poker legislation across country. Every other week, it seems a lawmaker is introducing a bill to legalize poker in one form or another. The payoff is huge for any of these lawmakers, were they to succeed. 10 million Americans who will in all likelihood hold them up as a folk hero, name recognition across the country, and maybe even a sentence or two in the history books.
Today, Joe Barton will be the newest legislator entering the market. A Texas Republican House of Representatives member, Barton has reportedly been holding conversations with active online poker players through Facebook as he has drafted a bill to legalize US online poker. Barton holds the second most senior position in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the channel he is most likely to use as a platform for the bill. Himself a poker player, Barton says there is a defined disparity between online poker being legalized and the 2006 bill making deposits for online poker illegal.
Barton’s bill is exciting to poker enthusiasts. Unlike most legislators, whose bills are confined to states or counties, Barton is approaching online poker at the federal level. His bill’s success would revolutionize online poker, making it legal in all 50 states. The bill allows for states to illegalize poker, a tip of the hat to states rights and a provision likely to increase votes. It also includes the creation of a federal regulatory agency to overlook all online poker in America.
According to multiple reports, Barton will formally introduce the bill today.