As soon as it seems that online poker has a chance in the United States, gamblers get blindsided. Both Nevada and Delaware have passed legislation for online gambling options and other states are trying to follow suit, including the state of New Jersey, so online gambling was looking optimistic. That is, until Texas stepped into the picture. A new poker bill was submitted in the state of Texas titled the Texas Poker Gaming Act of 2013, which was created to regulate brick and mortar poker games but ban other forms of the game including online poker options.
The new bill was created by State Senator Eddie Rodriguez and would see regulation for poker games in land casinos but ban other forms of poker including electronic poker games and online poker. The measure includes the formation of a new poker division of the Lottery Commission in the state, which doesn’t really make sense because the bill defines the game of poker as a skill game and not a lottery style game.
Rodriguez’ bill would allow licenses for poker to be applied for by existing bingo halls, tribal and pari-mutuel options. poker would be available 24/7 at the tribal facilities and pari-mutuels and bingo halls would only be able to provide the gaming options during normal business hours. Cash-games would be favored with no limits on the number of buy-ins and a 10% rake would be capped at $4. The bill states that tournaments can take place but $100 would be the maximum buy-in. Bad Beats and promotional jackpot options will also be permitted.
The poker bill will be reviewed by legislature during the January 2013 meeting but the prospect of the bill moving forward is uncertain. The state remains a conservative stance when it comes to gambling so even though online options are omitted, legislatures may still be uninterested.