Joe Barton (R-Ennis) is being urged by groups in his home state of Texas to declare his intentions regarding his federal online poker bill. Observers think that Barton could perform CPR on the bill that has been dormant in the House for over a year with Harry Reid’s federal bill thought to be accelerating Barton’s thoughts.
It has led certain groups to call on Barton to cease his support so that online gambling doesn’t become widespread in Texas. Imagine that. Jack Ballou, a board member of the anti-gambling Stop Predatory Gambling-Texas group, told the Star Telegram “We see this bill as the camel’s nose under the tent – a beginning point for gambling online. As a constituent, … (I’m) calling on Congressman Barton to withdraw support of that bill and discontinue pushing it in Congress.”
It was left to Matt Allen, Texas assistant state director for the Poker Players Alliance, to add some realistic reflection to it all.
“The reality is that Texans, and Americans broadly, will continue to play online poker whether federal lawmakers pass legislation or not. That won’t change. What can change is passage of thoughtful legislation to protect consumers – both those who play, like the tens of thousands of Texans who enjoy online poker, and those who shouldn’t be playing, like problem gamblers and minors.”
Neither should worry too much though as online poker is unlikely to roll out on a federal basis and you only need look at the efforts of states like Nevada and Delaware that are already well on the way to starting up their own intra-state online poker industry. Once one state successful starts up the floodgates will open and there are a number that will follow suit.