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Texas Republican Introduces Online Poker Bill

Legislation, 2011-06-24, by Ozone

A new effort to legalize and regulate online poker in the U.S. is being made by Representative Joe Barton (R-TX). Barton's bill would allow for the licensing and regulation of online poker in the U.S. while more strictly enforcing the prohibition of other forms of online gambling.

The bill, titled the "Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2011" would provide federal and state governments with power to license sites that spread online poker. The bill is co-sponsored by 11 other Congressmen and women, seven of them Democrat and four Republican. This makes it the most bi-partisan effort to date to legalize online poker at the federal level in the U.S.

The wording of the bill provides the appropriate government oversight agencies a maximum of 180 days to decide on final regulations. This means online poker sites could begin receiving licenses within six months of the bill's passage. For U.S. poker players, this is a substantial improvement over Harry Reid's proposed bill last December which would have enforced a 15 month "blackout" period following the bill's passage. Another key difference between Barton's bill and Reid's bill is that Barton's bill contains no wording which would prohibit non-US players from playing on the licensed U.S. sites.

If passed, each state would be automatically be included in the legislation unless its governor chose to opt out. In the case of a governor choosing to opt out, residents of those states would not be allowed to play online poker at the licensed sites.

Since the bill increases enforcement on other forms of online gambling, it is generally regarded at having a better chance of passing since some politicians have indicated a willingness to vote favorably for a poker bill that contains tougher laws against other forms of online gambling.

Under this bill, operators of unlicensed poker rooms would be fined $1 million for every day they service U.S. players and face up to five years in prison.

Related Links

Full Text of Barton Poker Bill

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