Joe Barton Internet Poker Bill: Things You Need to Know

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Joe Barton has done a superb job of breaking down the Joe Barton Internet poker bill.  There are a few components worth noting.

Current Internet poker rooms operating outside the USA are banking on new regulation opening up the doors for more extensive payment processing.

There is only one problem:  Barton’s bill as currently written does not allow for playing poker with one’s credit card. 

Still, payment processors are likely to feel more comfortable dealing with those rooms based outside the US (and presumably unlicensed by the US entities).  This would place the legalized rooms at a competitive disadvantage since credit cards are the most popular method of gambling online. 

For European Internet poker rooms looking to capitalize on any new law, it is prudent to join forces with an already established US licensee such as a casino operator.  Playtech this past week announced plans to do just that by aligning themselves with the Native American casinos of California as a means of taking advantage of legislative efforts in that state.  The Hustler Online Casino also enjoys a leg up since they too are already licensed in the US.  Currently, Hustler offers a free play online poker room


For the first three years of the program, only current holders of state or tribal issued gaming or racing licenses who have substantial land-based gaming operations could be primary licensees.


The measure would also call for a list to be created which contains names of unlicensed online poker rooms.  This aspect of the bill could be seen as having more bark than bite.  These so-called “unlicensed” online poker rooms could have a tougher time engaging in direct advertising on US soil (i.e. billboards and maybe even magazines).  The United Kingdom has a similar policy when it comes to regulation.  Still, there is the World Wide Web.

It is conceivable that a company like Ladbrokes, one of the biggest bookmakers and Internet poker providers in the world, would not be granted a license in the USA.  Does anyone really believe that US authorities will crack down on Ladbrokes for accepting US customers if they elect to do so when MGM and Wynn are permitted to do so?


“Not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of the Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2011, submit to the Secretary a list of unlicensed internet gambling enterprises.”


It is important also to understand that individual states may elect to opt out.  Expect Washington State and Utah to be among the first to do so.

Congress is on recess through July 4.  The bill could be voted on prior to the end of summer.

- Chris Costigan, Publisher