Legal Online Poker In US Drawing Closer?

A bill that would allow states to decide on an individual basis whether or not they will allow their residents to play online poker has been introduced by Joe Barton, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Texas.

Barton’s bill, which is clumsily titled the “Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2011”, looks very similar to the one put forward by Barney Frank a year ago, that never made it through the U.S. Senate.

Unsurprisingly, Frank is a co sponsor of this latest bill, along with ten others including Steve Cohen and John Campbell.

A statement read: “Poker is an all-American game, and it’s a game that requires strategy and skill. Millions of Americans play poker online. Although it’s legal to play for money, it’s illegal to process the transactions that allow players to collect their earnings.”

“We want to have an iron-clad system to make sure that those who play for money are playing in an honest, fair system where they can reap the benefits of their winnings. To put it simply, this bill is about having the personal freedom to play a skill-based game you enjoy without fear of breaking the law.”

If the bill is successful, it would allow US players aged 21 or older to play poker against American players only and no credit cards could be used in transactions with the online poker rooms, but it would certainly be a step in the right direction.

The Poker Players Alliance also issued a statement, supporting the bill. The Chairman of the PPA, Alfonse D’Amato, said: “On behalf of the PPA membership and millions of poker players across the country, I thank Congressman Barton for his commitment to protecting Americans’ freedom to play poker on the Internet.”

“As recent events have shown, the lack of clarity surrounding online poker has wreaked havoc on Americans who choose to play this great game both for fun and in some cases as their profession. Congressman Barton’s bill aims to bring clarity to the law, while implementing tough consumer protections and providing a mechanism for the Federal and state governments to collect billions of dollars in revenue.”

Watch this space for further developments.

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