Barton Proposes Bill to Legalize Poker on Federal Level

5 years ago
Congressman Joe Barton
29 Jun

Some days ago, Lindsey Graham reintroduced legislation that would ban all forms of gambling in the United States. While Graham, who is backed by Sheldon Adelson, is trying to stop online gambling, Texas congressman Joe Barton responded by proposing a legislation that would legalize online poker in the entire U.S.

The Internet Poker Freedom Act 2015 is third attempt by Texas congressmen to regulate online poker at a federal level. Joe Barton believes that poker is a game of skill and that it should be considered separately from blackjack, roulette and others games of chance.

Graham’s senate version of RAWA was met with harsh criticism of the poker community, industry officials and many supporters of the Igaming. United States have seen many bills that would prohibit online gambling but Graham’s bill was described as hypocritical as it is known that Sheldon Adelson, Graham’s principal donor, has been one of the most stubborn and persistent opponents of online gambling.

Joe Barton's bill requires the use of technology that would prevent underage players to gamble and it also requires directing the resources to help problem gamblers.

A longstanding supporter of online poker, Barton has tried several times to legalize online poker and regulate the game in the United States. The first time he has tried to pass such legislation was in 2011. 2013 saw first incarnation of the Internet Poker Freedom Act but it didn’t get the necessary support in the Congress. So far, Barton’s attempts to change the current Igaming situation have failed.

If the bill passes all other forms of gambling except poker will remaine illegal and those caught offering games to US players will face strict penalties. Barton said in a statement that people in the U.S. deserve to have legal system that will protect the fairness of the games and make sure that everybody is playing in an honest structure.

The online poker debate is certainly getting serious as numerous lawmakers are introducing legislation to push their platforms.

Poker Players Alliance said that this legislation doesn’t violate any states’ laws as states can decide whether they want to participate in the interstate poker while the states who don't want the internet poker can opt out. John Pappas, executive director of PPA, said that poker community is very thankful on Joe Barton’s support and that the PPA and Barton will work together in order to advance the bill.

Many believe that Graham’s RAWA will probably not pass and that Sheldon Adeslon won’t win the war on online gambling. Maybe Barton’s third attempt to fight for the online poker in the States won’t fall on deaf ears this time around as he believes that The Internet Poker Freedom Act is now needed more than ever.


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Ines is a Journalism student with many interests, poker being one of these. Her passion to learn and develop her horizons make her a valuable contributor to the site's content.Read more


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