Joe Barton, a Congressman from Texas, is contemplating the introduction of another federal online poker bill.
Barton wants to legalize and regulate online poker at the federal level so that all U.S. citizens can log in and play online poker.
The bill is seen as a counter to Restore America’s Wire Act (RAWA), the proposed legislation pushed by Rep. Jason Chaffetz and Sen. Lindsey Graham to ban online poker site and Internet casinos, which also includes states they are legal and regulated.
Barton’s Online Poker Background
Barton has tried several times to pass online poker legislation, starting from 2011. The last time he tried to pass such a bill was in June 2013. He introduced the Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2013. The bill never reached the floor of the House for a vote, though it received enough support that IPFA received its own committee hearing.
Legal Gaming Background
Land-based casino gambling is legal in 39 states. Online gambling is allowed in only 3 states at present (Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware), but California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Indiana, and Washington all have considered or are considering passing laws to legalize online gaming. With so many states making brick-and-mortar gaming legal, it makes little sense to ban a form of gambling which is taking place anyway, but which could be taxed for additional state revenues.
Morgan Stanley suggests the American online gambling industry could be worth $2.7 billion a year by the year 2020. With most US states facing budget crunches, legislatures have to consider the possibility in many states.
Barton Sees Gambling as a Personal Choice
Barton believes decisions on whether to gamble or not should be a matter of personal responsibility. Governments telling citizens what they can do in the privacy of their own home is outrageous. Barton’s bill is similar to the one he supported in 2013. Online sports betting, lottery betting, and casino games (like blackjack) are not going to be involved in his bill. Only poker is addressed.