2017 Update: Alas, American poker enthusiasts, the 113th Congress did not pass the Internet Poker Freedom Act. But, for archival purposes, the old article is posted below.
Alas, American poker enthusiasts, the time is nigh! A bill legalizing online poker has finally found its way to the hopper. Entitled the “Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2013 (HR 2666 ),” Rep. Joe Barton is fronting the act.
If passed, states will have an easier time implementing online poker regulations. The law would also re-categorize poker as a game of skill, exempting it from action under other online gaming laws.
If Poker Is A Game Of Skill, That Makes All The Difference…
Since the Illegal Gambling Business Act only criminalizes “clear games of chance.” So, HR 2666 simply defines online poker as a game of skill. Using case law precedence to support the argument, the veracity of the proposal will be difficult to knock down on legal grounds. (Social grounds are another issue.)
The Internet Poker Freedom Act Could Blow Open A New Market
Proponents of the Internet Poker Freedom Act hope the proposed law will create a profitable new market.
“United States consumers would benefit from a program of Internet poker regulation which recognizes the interstate nature of the Internet,” the bill says, “but nevertheless preserves the prerogatives of States and Federally recognized Indian tribes.”
What Provisions Are Included In Internet Poker Freedom Act?
HR 2666 confers strict licensee operator regulations. Under the draft proposal licensee operators would have to:
- Establish age-verification measures;
- Implement gambling-addiction measures;
- Ensure cross-state regulatory compliance;
- Allow players to limit losses.
- Work to prevent money laundering.
Will This Online Poker Law Finally Pass?
Barton is no stranger to online poker legislation. In 2011, the Texas politician introduced HR 2366, the Online Poker Act of 2011. It didn’t pass. HR 2666, however, may have better luck. After all, the revenue generating possibilities are attractive to reelection-seeking politicians pandering to constituents who’ve become very comfortable with online life.
The Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2013 includes provisions honest business provisions, calls for an Office of Internet Poker Oversight, and features a “fair and honest”clause to thwart the potential for rigged games.
All in all, HR 2666 — a.k.a., “The Internet Poker Freedom act of 2013” — is a comprehensive, long-considered, online gaming bill. Let’s see if our lawmakers bite.