Online poker is back on the table at the U.S. House of Representatives. Congressman Joe Barton (R-Texas) introduced the Internet Poker Freedom Act, which would legalized online poker throughout the U.S. In June, New York Republican Congressman Peter King released a bill that would legalize full online gaming in the U.S.
Barton is back after he presented a similar bill in the House two years ago. It died after receiving a couple of committee hearings, but he has higher hopes for this measure. In addition to tax revenue for the federal government, it benefits poker players, he says.
“United States consumers would benefit from a program of internet poker regulation which recognizes the interstate nature of the internet,” the bill says, “but nevertheless preserves the prerogatives of states and federally recognized Indian tribes.”
The bill is short on specifics but identifies a few benefits:
• Establishes standards for online poker licensing;
• Allows states to continue to license and regulate online poker at the state level;
• Ensures that tribes have the same rights as any other entity that would apply for an online poker license;
• Creates an effective means to prevent minors from playing online poker;
• Identifies and helps to treat problem gamblers;
• Prevents players from non-participating states from playing;
• Allows players to self-exclude and set limit losses; and,
• Prevents money laundering.
King’s bill is much more specific, outlining a department to oversee online gaming, who could participate as operators and players, how payments would be processed and more.
Barton’s bill does contain a “bad actors” clause that would prohibit online gaming operations that accepted bets after the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in 2006 from participating in any online poker industry in the U.S. for five years.