Latest U.S. Legal Online Poker Bill Viewed With Mixed Promise In Congress

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The latest salvo in the battle to pass legal online poker in the U.S. Congress comes in the form of a bill called the Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2013 sponsored by Representative Joe Barton of Texas (R). Differing from much of the previous attempts at online gambling legislation that have made their unsuccessful way through the chambers of Congress, this bill is aimed not at legalizing all forms of online gambling but online poker alone, the reason being that poker can be argued to be a game of skill whereas online casino gambling is generally considered to be comprised of games of chance.

Meanwhile Barton said in a conference call arranged by the poker lobby organization Poker Players Alliance that legal U.S. poker online is not far off. This in contrast to the sentiments of Senate majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada (D) who, in spite of his support for both online gambling legislation in general and online poker legislation in particular says he believes the chances of legal U.S. poker passing this Congress are slim.

Barton’s bill will also leave alone that 2011 Wire Act interpretation that made it allowable for states to pass their own intrastate online gambling legislation and regulation if they so wished. States like Nevada and New Jersey have already done so and are taking steps to make online gambling for their residents an imminent reality. Barton believes once more states follow suit, federal legislation can’t be far behind.