Barton Could Slip Online Poker, Sports Betting Language Into Horse Racing Bill

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Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) sees an opening to expand legalized online poker and potentially sports betting as part of a bill that would establish a national authority for regulating doping and medication in horse racing.

“I am looking at it,” Barton told Roll Call.

Barton has long worked to legalize online poker in the US.

Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that sports betting could not be permitted on a state-by-state basis provided the proper regulatory measures are in place. 

Many in the poker community felt their favorite game got left out in the cold, all time record World Series of Poker bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth among them.

He tweeted immediately following the ruling:

Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court foreshadows the eminent legalization of sports betting across most/all states. The English have laughed at US Citizens for a long time, saying only in USA would laws be in place to tell us how “We cannot spend our money”

And later added:

Every Major sport (NBA, NFL, MLB) is behind the legalization of sports betting, and all of them will profit by it. But how can Sports Betting online be legalized w/out online poker being legalized (clearly more skill than sports betting)? The time is NOW to legalize online poker!

As for the horse racing bill currently being proposed, the industry - and Congress - remain divided on how to handle doping.  The bill itself is bipartisan in nature with 125 co-sponsors, 75 of them Democrats.

“I can’t predict that at this point,” House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden said about whether the bill would advance. “There was obviously differing viewpoints on the legislation, which we fully anticipated. Everybody knew that. I think it’s important to air these issues, and then we’ll decide where we go from there.”

- Ace King,

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