Rep. Joe Barton, a Texas Republican, and Nevada’s Harry Reid, a Democrat, have joined forces to legalize online poker. Barton expects to introduce a bill this summer.
Barton said he plans to use his influence to get the bill transferred to the Energy and Commerce Committee’s jurisdiction since that comittee has the authority to license new operators to the Commerce Department. Barton also chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Several states also have taken up measures to legalize Internet poker. Most efforts have failed, but in April—just days before the Black Friday indictments—Washington, D.C. became the first US entity, though not a state, to legalize online poker.
Last year, efforts to legalize internet poker stalled when Republicans, led by Minority Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona, said there was “zero chance” the GOP would accept that sort of a package.
But in a policy statement this year, Kyl said he would keep a more open mind about poker-only bills, and “consider them carefully as long as they leave in place the broader proscriptions against online betting.”