Hope and Doubt for Online Poker in the U.S.

Joe Linus Barton, a Representative from Texas

Joe Linus Barton, a Representative from Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recent reports in the U.S. are contradictory regarding the legalization of online poker. Despite the fact that there seems to be grassroots support for online poker and also active lobbying by groups such as the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), there’s doubt as to when it may happen.

Hope for Online Poker

The best hope for the legalization of online poker in the U.S. has been the Barton Bill, which is sponsored by Representative Joe Barton from Texas. Barton has been a clear advocate for Internet poker. With the Barton Bill, the Secretary of the Treasury would oversee the licensing of online poker in the U.S. The PPA has endorsed this bill.

There is also the Campbell Bill, which is more sweeping law. Sponsored by Representative John Campbell a Republican from California, it’s endorsed by The Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative. This self-described group calls itself the “leading advocate for Internet gambling regulation.” With this law the Department of Commerce would be in charge of online poker and licensing states. However, if the federal government does not take action soon individual states may.

Justice Department

The Justice Department is on record as being opposed to that occurrence since they feel it could create a legal and licensing nightmare. Various states, including New Jersey, California and Delaware, are looking to make online gambling legal. Representative Barton recently offered his take on his bill.

Public Comment

Barton said, “My bill is needed now more than ever. It creates one federal standard that protects the integrity of the game and the financial interests of players — while protecting American consumers from nefarious and predatory overseas gambling operations.” On the states getting involved, Barton added, “If Congress doesn’t act soon we could end up with fractured rules and regulations that vary state to state, leaving more opportunity for fraud and fewer safeguards for players.”

Time is a Factor

Time is running short on both the Campbell and Barton bills. It is an election year and Congress will be hesitant to vote on either bill since online poker is a controversial issue with many U.S. citizens. John Pappas, the director of the PPA, is well aware of the problems inherent in further delay and of states getting involved. Pappas observed, “The more the states continue to move forward with this, the harder it will be for the federal government to step in.”

Despite the problems, Barton is optimistic, saying, “I am confident this issue will be voted on by the House and Senate in this session.” His confidence withstanding, Barton is in the minority concerning the federal government’s ability to act on Internet poker this year.

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Posted by on Jul 16 2012. Filed under Online Poker News, Poker Legal News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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