Joe Barton, Republican representative from Texas, recently stated his belief that poker “is a game of skill and it shouldn’t be outlawed.” He is just one of many senators, congressmen and US federal officials who believe it is time to legalize the pastime which many millions of Americans already enjoy online. And Barton is also just one of many who are pushing for online poker passage by the end of 2012. That is a very tight timetable, and the subject of gambling in any form is always a dicey one. But two states have already passed online poker legislation this year, so anything’s possible.
Nevada was the first to legalize online poker within its boundaries for its residents and visitors, followed last month by Delaware. Delaware also added a full regiment of casino games in their online gambling bill, and many states already have online poker legislation awaiting a vote at some state government level. Barton did admit that getting passage by the end of 2012 is getting less and less likely as the year moves on, but he still holds out hope.
Since no House hearings have been held on the matter of online poker legislation since October and November of last year, a ruling should be made in the near future one way or the other. While Barton agrees with the Department of Justice December 2011 ruling that each state dictate their own online poker future, as Delaware and Nevada already have, he would prefer passage of a bill like his that is mandated and regulated at the federal level. He observes Federal oversight is necessary so we don’t “end up with fractured rules and regulations that vary state to state, leaving more opportunity for fraud and fewer safeguards for players.”
John Pappas is the executive director of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), a nonprofit organization composed of online and off-line poker players whose mission is to establish favorable poker laws in both the virtual and physical world. Pappas is a staunch Barton supporter, and commended states like Nevada and Delaware which have already adopted online poker legislation, begging more states to continue to move forward in this regard.
Stating that his bill is now more timely than ever because it “creates one federal standard that protects the integrity of the game and the financial interests of players,” Barton has received vigorous support from Pappas and the PPA. Pappas expressed his belief that Barton’s bill, since it is focused only on online poker, has a much better chance of passage than a comprehensive online gambling Bill which would cover all forms of interactive gaming. The clock is ticking on 2012, as Barton, Pappas and the PPA join millions of Americans in supporting the passage of federal online poker legislation in the United States.
While Barton is focusing on federal legislation, there is no word yet whether or not whether we’re likely to see any changes in Texas online gambling laws. As you wait for the legislative landscape to play out, you can enjoy legal online gambling in the USA now! Get more information on which online gambling sites are safe and legal here: UnitedStatesGamblingOnline.com.