The federal internet poker legalisation bill that everyone is talking about - Texas Republican Joe Barton's proposal - is to be unveiled later today (Friday) at a press conference in Washington DC, reports the political newspaper The Hill.
Representative Barton's proposal has the backing of Reps. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), John Campbell (R-Calif.), and Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) with more names expected once the official launch is made public.
Co-sponsors of the bill argue the issue is one of personal freedom and the government shouldn’t stop people from playing a "game of skill."
The Hill reports that Barton's bill will be introduced through the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which appears more open to the prospect currently than the House Financial Services Committee, which passed an online gambling bill last year, but is now under the control of hard-line anti-internet gambling Republicans.
Early reports suggest that Barton's bill would require poker sites to register through the gaming commissions of states that currently permit gambling, and create a federal body to oversee the industry.
Last week The Hill revealed that Barton's staff were putting the finishing touches to the bill and expected it to be introduced soon. It is understood that the Poker Players Alliance supports the move and has provided expert input to the drafters.
Leaked information claims that under the proposed legislation, online poker sites would have to be registered in a state where gambling is already allowed, such as Nevada or New Jersey. Sites would be required to register with the gaming commissions in those states, which would be in charge of ensuring they don't cheat consumers. The bill would also create a new regulatory body to oversee the game at a federal level.
Users in all 50 states would be allowed to play on the sites for real money, but states would be given the option to opt out of the law and ban online poker if they so choose. Whether that decision would be made by the state legislatures or a referendum has yet to be determined.
There is good synchronicity in an announcement at this stage, with Barton - said to be a keen poker player - due to visit the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas over the weekend and give the traditional "Shuffle Up and Deal" call to start one of the events.
Source: InfoPowa News