Rep. Joe Barton to Introduce Federal iPoker Bill

Rep. Joe Barton to Introduce Federal iPoker BillTexas Representative Joe Barton, who introduced federal online poker legislation in 2013, is preparing to do so again this year.

The measure will be poker-only and will be similar to HR 2666, a bill Barton introduced in [geolink href=””]july 2013[/geolink] that failed to gain any traction. States will have the right to opt out at their discretion, which more than a dozen would likely do considering the number of states who have spoken out in support of RAWA.

RAWA is the Restoration of America’s Wire Act, a federal bill that aims to ban online gambling save for fantasy sports and horse racing. RAWA was proposed in 2014 and again this year by Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz at the behest of billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson.

A hearing on RAWA was held last week by the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. Barton’s announcement of readying a new bill to counter RAWA has come about partly due to the congressional hearing. That RAWA hearing was dominated by anti-online gambling discussions that many pro-Internet poker supporters found to be lacking in facts.

The Star-Telegram reported that Barton’s new proposal would be introduced to his legislative colleagues within 30 days. It will reportedly address the issue of online poker players who may fall victim to addictive gambling by permitting deposits only by debit cards, disallowing credit card use.

That would prevent out of control gamblers from racking up credit card debt. Barton’s idea appears to be in response to propoganda released by the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling that has centered around the catchphrase “Click your mouse and lose your house.”

A new catchphrase emerged from the RAWA hearing compliments of testimony provided by anti-online gambling advocate John Kindt. “Click your phone, lose your home” has now been added to the rhetoric put forth by those opposed to igaming.

Whether Barton’s new proposal will fare better than his last attempt in 2013 remains to be seen. There has been growing opposition to RAWA, including a number of state lotteries who sell tickets online.

RAWA would put an end to online lottery sales, as well as snuff out the online poker and gambling regimes already operating in Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada. There have been recent reports indicating that RAWA supporters may be willing to negotiate the language contained in the bill and perhaps permit online lottery sales.

South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham, who proposed a version of RAWA last year along with Chaffetz but has not yet done so in 2015, is rumored to be easing his stance toward the sale of Internet lottery tickets. But it may not be enough to allow RAWA to progress further considering that the bill has an overwhelming number of critics and opponents.

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett