Legal Online Poker In The U.S.?

Online poker lawListen up American poker enthusiasts, for 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 was introduced by Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX). In short, if passed, Barton’s bill would make it easier for states to establish their own online poker laws and regulations. It also officially categorizes poker as a game of skill, thereby exempting it from action under other online gaming laws.

Poker Is A Game Of Skill, And That Should Make All The Difference…

Since the Illegal Gambling Business Act only criminalizes “clear games of chance,” HR 2666 accomplishes the legalization of online poker by defining it as a game of skill. Using case law precedence to support the notion of poker’s inherent skill element, the Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2013 will be a hard law to knock down on legal grounds. (Social grounds are another issue.)

The Internet Poker Freedom Act Could Open A Whole New Job-Creating, Revenue-Generating Market Right Here In the U.S.

Proponents of the Internet Poker Freedom Act maintain that passing the bill could open up a new market benefiting the private sector, in addition to federal, state and tribal governments:

“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.”

OK, So What Types of Regulations Are Included In Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2013 Bill Proposal?

HR 2666 confers strict licensee operator regulations. Under the draft proposal:

  • Licensee operators would have to put measures in place to keep minors from participating.
  • Licensee operators would have to implement a system for identifying and handling problem gamblers.
  • Licensee operators would have to ensure that players from non-participant states are prohibited from playing.
  • Licensee operators must allow players to limit losses.
  • Licensee operators must work to prevent money laundering.

Will This Online Poker Law Be The One To Finally Pass?

Barton is not a stranger to online poker legislating. In 2011, the Texas politician introduced HR2366, the Online Poker Act of 20i1. It didn’t pass. HR2666, however, may have better luck as people seem to be ready for an online gambling option. Plus, the revenue generating possibilities are attractive to reelection-seeking politicians looking to improve their communities’ economic situations.

The Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2013 includes provisions to help ensure honest business practices. It calls for an “Office of Internet Poker Oversight,” to be set up in the Department of Commerce. It also has a “fair and honest”clause to crackdown on rigged games.

All in all, HR2666 “The Internet Poker Freedom act of 2013” is a comprehensive, long-considered online gaming bill. Now we just have to wait and see if our lawmakers bite. If they do, we may just see a whole new, revenue-friendly marketplace develop around online poker.

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