Online Poker Legislation: Will the State Laws or Federal Law Prevail?

Every week, it seems more individual states in the US decide to begin legislation for online gambling. States are realizing the want for online gambling as well as the potential that online gambling can bring. Currently, three states have passed legislation to offer online gambling in their individual state. many other states are also exploring the possibility of legalized online gambling. This now leads to the question: will individual state laws have the say so with online poker or will a federal bill soon be enacted?

According to Representative Joe Barton of Texas, a federal law is needed. Barton tried back in 2011 to have an online poker bill pass but was unsuccessful. Barton stated in a recent Bangor Daily News Article: “I think the states’ passage gives some incentive to the federal government to act. Whether you’re for or against Internet gambling, you don’t want 50 sets of state laws. You want uniformity.”

Barton is currently planning on releasing a new online poker bill this spring. Working alongside Barton is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is Nevada. The two men both want to see online poker legislation approved in the US and while Barton works on his piece of legislation, Reid is working to find people to support the measure.

The thoughts on federal law for online poker go two ways. Those for legalization and regulation state that federal laws for online poker would create a uniformity and help safeguard players against fraud. Those against legalization sated that a federal bill would take away the states’ power as well as take revenues which are needed badly across the board.

State Representative Joe Heck spoke with the Las Vegas Sun on the subject and stated: “There have been several discussions. There’s still a sense of urgency to try and get something done sooner rather than later. Now that the state’s going, we may need to reassess where we’re going federally. We’re still trying to codify something around a unified delegation, the industry and folks with a vested interest in trying to get an internet poker bill done.”

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