Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) introduced a federal online poker bill this week in the House. Barton’s most recent effort (he made an attempt in 2011 as well) comes after a federal online poker bill introduced last year in the US Senate (by Senators Harry Reid (D-NV) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ)) died due to lack of support, and roughly a month after Rep. Peter King (R-NY) introduced an online gaming bill that would legalize various casino games, not just poker.
Barton contends that his bill has a better chance of passing in the House than the King bill due to the fact that Barton’s version only legalizes poker, and not other casino games. Otherwise, Barton’s bill contains much of the same language as the Reid-Kyl and King bills.
State by State
The Barton bill would permit individual states to opt out of the legalized online poker regime, and would set a minimum age of 21 for players. As with all recent efforts on the federal level, Rep. Barton argues that his bill would create a uniform standard which would be preferable to the patchwork of regulations that would result from legalization on the on a state-by-state basis. It remains to be seen how any prospective federal legislation will interact with state laws that have legalized online poker in Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey, respectively.
The legislative process on the federal level, and the potential impact on applicable state laws, will be worth keeping an eye on for gambling attorneys and those interested in Internet poker law in general.