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Another Try at Legal Online Poker in the US

Another Try at Legal Online Poker in the US

It's been a rough year for online poker fans in the US with both PokerStars and Full Tilt removed as options due to a crackdown by the US government, but there may be a glimmer of hope with the introduction of a new poker bill last Friday by Rep. Joe Barton.

Barton's bill is similar to past efforts to legalize, regulate, and tax online poker in the US but one major difference is that he has the support of both Democratic and Republican politicians, which makes passing the bill into law much easier than past bills that were only backed by Democrats.

Some major brick-and-mortar US casinos have also voiced support for the bill, which has been another stumbling block in the past. With Full Tilt and PokerStars removed from the picture, large casinos in the US such as Wynn, MGM, and Caesars may feel the time is finally ripe to support an online poker bill and open their own online poker rooms.

Barton's bill (which is technically named HR2366 but is being referred to as Barton's Bill and the Online Poker Act of 2011) sticks just to poker and doesn't address online casinos or sportsbetting. 

It would establish a federal agency in the US to oversee online poker and for the first two years would only allow sites to be operated by established gambling companies already in operation in the US such as casinos and horse tracks.

All US states would be included initially in the bill but would have the option to opt-out if they decided they didn't want to allow residents of their state to play online poker. The minimum age would be set at 21 years of age and credit cards would not be allowed as far as depositing money onto any site.

Barton's bill must still be debated and marked up before it even comes to a vote (with many bills dying at this stage and never making it to a vote) but he's voiced enthusiasm for its prospects, and hopes that it can be put to a vote as soon as the summer of 2011. 

26-Jun-2011, 08:27

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