On Friday Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, introduced online poker legislation that would allow individual states to choose whether online poker should be allowed or not within their borders. Barton who claims to have bipartisan support, would require poker websites to obtain a license in at least one state and the U.S. Department of Commerce to be able to operate legally.
In a news conference announcing his bill Barton said that his goal was to lessen the burden of regulation that currently falls on the banks. It is currently illegal for U.S. banks to process online gambling transactions even though online poker isn’t specifically barred.
Rep. Barton used the recent Justice Department use of the law as one of the reasons for introducing the law. “This is a law that is unworkable,” Barton said. “You shouldn’t have the proceeds of a legal activity being illegal.”
According to Barton this bill, if passed, could generate $3 billion annually from taxing just the winnings of players. This money would be split between the state and federal government. Of course there are objections and the biggest meaning the protection of minors.
Co-sponsor Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said of this objection;
“If you say that no adult can do anything over the Internet unless you are willing to let a child do it, then you might as well shut down the Internet.”
What if this bill actually reaches the President’s desk? According to Barton;
“The president is reputed to be a pretty good poker player. I can’t believe someone from the South Side of Chicago wouldn’t want to support this.”
Barton’s proposed bill will be forward to the House commerce committee for consideration.