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Rep. Barton's Online Poker Bill Gains Respect

Last Tuesday’s subcommittee hearing at which U.S. lawmakers looked at Rep. Joe Barton’s Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2013 has allowed the federal proposal to gain a certain degree of newfound respect.

It’s a respect that had perhaps been missing when the Texas Republican first introduced H.R. 2666 in July. Rep. Lee Terry (R-Nebraska) indicated as much when he stated near the end of the hearing that he and some of his colleagues were not enamored of the bill upon their first reading over the summer.

Terry jokingly said that lawmakers were of the mind that Barton’s poker-only bill may have been “way out there” regarding certain language contained within the proposal. But the Nebraska legislator admitted that his colleague from Texas has always been viewed as being somewhat on the “cutting edge” of lawmaking.

Terry further stated that although the hearing included a few lighthearted and whimsical moments on whether or not God or Satan are the main backers of H.R. 2666, the legalization of online gambling in the U.S. is a serious matter and should be analyzed and debated accordingly.

That scrutiny is now underway and it finds lawmakers likely looking at the Internet Poker Freedom Act under a new light. Perhaps part of the reason for the proposal’s improved standing was the strong showing at the hearing by Geoff Freeman of the American Gaming Association and John Pappas of the Poker Players Alliance. Both were quite convincing in their pro-Internet poker arguments.

H.R. 2666 may still be a longshot at finding approval among a majority of lawmakers. However, the odds of that happening have improved following “The State of Online Gaming” hearing before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade last week.

Barton readily admitted that his bill is not perfect. But at least H.R. 2666 has gained favorable recognition and now has the opportunity to possibly gain some momentum toward the goal of regulating Internet poker at the federal level.



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Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.