Poker Community Reacts to Joe Barton Bill HR 2666: No Chance Says Some

Written by:
Ace King
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Poker Community Reacts to Joe Barton Bill HR 2666:  No Chance Says Some

Texas Republican Representative Joe Barton unveiled his latest bill to legalize online poker within the United States late Thursday. 

HR 2666 would essentially make it easier for states to opt out of federal legislation and initially only permit gambling facilities (casinos, riverboats, race tracks) with at least 500 slots, and cardrooms with at least 175 tables to offer licenses.  Credit cards would also be permitted for online poker play.  Barton’s bill also appears to embrace the Tribal casinos.

His bill could face staunch opposition from those states such as New Jersey that wish to offer online casino games.  Barton’s measure would strengthen current prohibition that prevents such games of chance on the Web.

A forum member of the TwoPlusTwo.com website named Xanadu writes:

There is no consensus of the Congressional leadership to advance or pass a bill which does nothing but license and regulate online poker. The Reid-Kyl effort last year seemed to have some traction in Congress because it was a compromise of the leadership and caucuses between full prohibition of Internet gambling and licensing of online poker.

There is just too much opposition among our federal lawmakers to gambling to think that any "pro-gambling" bill could be enacted by Congress. The only chance it really has is to be combined with a prohibition bill. I think we will see such a bill introduced before the year is out.

He adds:

I don't think the UIGEA strengthening in this bill is much of a change. All it does is create a list of illegal gambling web sites which payment processors have to blacklist. But do any US-facing offshore gambling sites process financial transactions in their own name these days? This won't stop those sites, and this bill doesn't provide new penalties (except for poker sites) or methods of enforcement against them.

I also don't see anything in the bill which stops state- or tribal-licensed Internet casino gambling. It does prevent states and tribes from issuing new licenses to poker sites under existing state or tribal laws, but it does nothing to stop states and tribes from implementing new intrastate (or interstate under compacting) online casino gambling, as allowed by the UIGEA.

There is almost nothing in this bill to appeal to the social conservatives.

Another forum member, As Armas writes:

I agree that exactly as written it does not have broad enough appeal to pass out of the house of representatives. I do think it has the potential to get amended to where there is a serious prohibition of all non-poker internet gaming.

There is not any serious opposition to such prohibition. In fact, quite the opposite.

The fact that it is originating in the house is important. Barton is pretty respected within his caucus, so this bill as a starting point will get a serious look by his fellow R's. Remember Kyl said last session the only way to get Reid-Kyl done was to start in the house.

Barton himself is a poker player representing a state where some forms of the game (Texas Hold’em for one) originated though Texas itself has fairly stringent gambling laws and ironically might be one of those states that would opt out from offering legalized online poker. 

- Ace King, Gambling911.com