Lawmakers have been trying for several years now to legalize online poker. Lawmakers from many different states have created proposals, yet many of the proposals do not make it far in the legislative process. However, despite this, many lawmakers are still hopeful that online poker will be legalized by the end of 2012.
Texas Representative Joe Barton has proposed a bill that is currently under review in the House. Barton has stated that Internet poker is not a crime but a game of skill and it should not be outlawed.
The bill created by Barton would create a program that is run by the Department of Commerce. This department would be responsible for state licensing of online poker options. Barton wants to give each state in the US the power to choose whether they will or will not allow online poker in their state.
Another bill has also been proposed that will put the Secretary of the Treasury in the role of licensing online gambling activities. This bill is also being reviewed by the House. Barton commented on his bill by stating:
“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.”
Time is running out though for the bill as the House last held hearings back in October and November of 2011. Barton commented that if Congress does not act soon that they may end up with fractured rules and regulation which will vary from state to state. This would leave more opportunity for fraud and fewer safeguards for players who want to enjoy the online options.
John Pappas the executive director of the Poker Players Alliance agreed with Barton and stated that the federal government needs to do something now. Pappas stated: “The more the states continue to move forward with this, the harder it will be for the federal government to step in.”
Pappas went on to state that many states have already moved to create their own rules and this could cause the federal government to be shut out. “If the feds don’t act to provide federal oversight of these issues, the states will act,” Pappas said
We will continue to monitor this situation and will post additional information as it is released.
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