The Push for Legalized online Gambling Continues
Rep. Joe Barton has been at the forefront of getting online poker Gambling accepted, over the last five sessions at Congress, he has either signed a bill or been the primary sponsor. His recent contribution was introduced on the 25th June.
A few days after this introduction he was brought to Las Vegas by the Poker Players Alliance, this is a grass roots trade organization that is seeking online poke legalization. He visited the organizations booth at the Rio All Suit Hotel and Casino. Mr Barton was also instrumental at handling the "Shuffle Up and Deal" kick-off held at the WSOP on that day.
Jack Effel, Director of the World Series of Poker Tournament told players that Jo Barton was not given up the fight for them, when he introduced Mr Barton at the Brasilia Poker Room.
After wards Dennis Phillips - Poker Player and a 2008 Main Events Finalists - and James Wood, who has starred in films such as: Casino, The Onion Field and Ghosts of Mississippi, both wanted time to talk to Mr Barton.
Mr. Barton, appeared to be a little embarrassed by all this attention. He said, that if he was going to Wal-mart in Ennis Texas they would check the status of his Credit Card, that he was just a regular person who was blessed to be in Congress.
Mr. Barton strongly believes that online poker should be legal.
He plays and Also Loses
Mr. Barton is an avid poker player, and has admitted that he has been down by a few hundred dollars after he had a few sessions at Wynn Las Vegas poker room.. Mr. Barton says that he's trying to give all Americans the same rights that players enjoy in other countries.
He is also aware of the hurdles to getting a bill passed in Congress, and that the stakes have gotten higher, since the billionaire casino owner, Sheldon Adelson, vowed that he would "spend whatever it takes" to making all the forms of online betting illegal.
The day prior to Mr. Barton unveiling his latest Poker Bill, Sen. Lindsey Graham, introduced a Adelson backed bill prohibiting such an activity. Mr Barton said that they had drafted the Bill, showed it to all the stakeholders, and were ready to go with the intention to introduce it that week. They then heard that Sen. Graham intended to introduce a contrarian bill. Mr Barton said that although it looked like this was coordinated in a negative manner, he said it just happened at the same time.
Sen. Graham, is a candidate for president, obtained six sponsors for his bill, these include Senators: Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who are also seeking GOP presidential nomination.
Mr Barton said that he has never spoken about online gaming with Mr. Adelson, who is chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp., and one of the largest of the financial backers of GOP candidates. He continued that Mr Adelson's emergence on the side of the anti-online gaming, has probably made "more senators and congressmen aware of the political support".
Unswayed By Political Influence
Despite all this Mr Barton is not deterred. He doesn't believe that any amount of political influence will be of help to the no's on Internet gaming side. He continued that he supported political process and that he respected Mr. Adelson's right to take part in political process. He also mentioned that he probably should go see Mr. Adelson when he is out here again.
Mr. Barton said that Internet poker legalization is not "a top of the fold" news issue, therefore most of the members of Congress don't think about the matter. He believes that most of the Republicans are in the category of "pro freedom" and that they would support the bill provided they don't "have a religious objection." He also stated that he has the same belief regarding the Democratic side of aisle.
One of the keys of Mr Barton's proposals, is an 'opt out' clause for states that don't want online poker sites in their states.
Three states already have accepted online gambling, Nevada, and New Jersey, and discussions a ongoing in legislatures of New York, California and Pennsylvania.
Should a larger state legalize online poker and they get involved in agreements interstate, such as happened with Delaware and Nevada, Congress will be obliged to act. This will also shows that all protections are in place to ensure that minors are unable to log in on gaming sites, that problem gamblers are identified and prohibited, that the credit issues will be non-existent and lastly the game is fair.
Mr Barton also said that this was going to happen, that when it became sufficient criteria mass on state level, it will almost force a bill such has his at federal level after that everyone will be wondering what the hubbub was all about.
Mr Barton believes that the President, Barack Obama, would sign a bill that legalizes online Poker. He stated that the President indicated in a phone conversation, a few years ago, that if Mr Barton got an Internet Poker Bill on his desk he would sign it.