Republican Rep. Joe Barton to Introduce Poker Bill
By Ian Hiaring, Rakeback.com Poker News Staff Writer
There’s so many different angles to the online poker question that it’s sometimes easy to lose track of what really needs to be done in order to make it possible to play online again. The Poker Players Alliance is pressing on with its stance that poker is a game of skill and that it should be legalized and regulated at the national level.
Tuesday it was revealed at the PPA’s Capitol Hill rally that Representative Joe Barton (R-Texas) will be introducing a bill to do just that, and he’s hopeful that the measure will be approved by both the House and Senate this session.
Barton stated that the bill is being prepared in consultation with the PPA. While many have criticized the PPA since the events of Black Friday for essentially ignoring the nature of the indictments and pressing on with their own agenda, we think it’s actually a good thing. Make no mistake, the indictments handed out on Black Friday (and the follow up in which another 10 sites were singled out last Monday) are a black eye to those fighting to legalize online poker, but the goal is still the same…to make it legal to play online poker in the United States.
The PPA has stayed true to this goal, in spite of some awkwardly worded statements released after the events of Black Friday, and we’ve got to give them credit for that. It comes down to the fact that the indictments the U.S. Department of Justice handed out weren’t for simply providing online poker to citizens of the United States. The crimes in question have to do with the handling of funds behind the scenes and the measures the online poker sites used to mask the nature of certain financial transactions to work around the UIGEA.
The UIGEA was dropped into the language of a bill in 2006 because hardline opponents of online gambling knew that it would be difficult to pass legislation that would explicitly ban online poker. They found an easy out by going after the middle men, the payment processors.
The Barton sponsored legislation just might stand a chance of becoming a law, but now that the UIGEA has actually been enforced, it remains to be seen if that will be seen as a stumbling block in the battle for legalized, regulated online poker.
It will be an interesting battle to see if Barton’s bill will see the light of day, and we’ll be here every step of the way to cover it for you.