Rep. Joe Barton Presents Bill To Legalize Online Gambling

By Marlee McCormick, KRLD 1080 News Radio

ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Railing against an “unenforceable” 2006 law banning online gambling, Rep. Joe Barton (R – TX) presented a bill to Congress this week that would make the practice legal again.

Barton’s bill would, ideally, allow states to opt-in to regulate online poker websites and potentially gain tax revenue from them.

“Texas would have to opt in to allow me, who lives in Texas, to play online for money if this bill becomes law,” Barton said.

Supporters say reversing the 2006 federal ruling – named the Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act – that banned online gambling will mean more jobs and a hike in tax revenues for states struggling with increasing unemployment and public debt.

Opponents say Internet gambling preys on the more vulnerable members of society.

The Ennis Republican answered critics on CNBC Wednesday morning, saying the bill establishes avenues that will identify both underage gamblers and of-age residents who are addicted to the practice.

“The bill has very strict safeguards protecting against underage poker players and addictive poker players,” Barton said. “There are very sophisticated programs to try and track somebody who might have a problem and then do something about it.”

Barton said regulating the industry will prevent websites from operating illegally and further avoid costly, long-term investigations by the federal government.

On April 15, the Justice Department unsealed an indictment against 11 defendants, including large-scale operations like PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker.

The companies were charged with bank fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling offenses.

Barton previously presented a bill in the last Congressional session, but it did not pass. He told CNBC in June that the bill could “generate in the neighborhood of $3 billion per year.”

Barton’s bill has not made it out of committee.

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  • darrell

    regulating on line gambling would be 1000 times harder than regulating the banking industry. we see how well that has worked. its a bad ideal, bad bill from a bad representative of the people. barton has so many special interests feeding his pockets he has to wear fanny packs. the only jobs i see that will be created will be government jobs to attempt to regulate the industry. taxpayer money wasted again.

  • Gary M. Franklin Sr.

    Texas needs to LEGALIZE Casino Gambling and reep the REVEUNE that is going to OUT OF TEXAS STATES, people are going to GAMBLE NO MATTER HOW FAR THEY HAVE TO TRAVEL TO GAMBLE………….

    • darrell

      as long as its not online gambling it will be fine. easier to regulate and control.

  • richard

    On line gambling steals from the weak minded people , that will go into debt thinking they might get rich . There are No Winners , but the stream of Losers never ends .
    Forget dangling this foolish carrot in front of weak minded people , they will take it,and there lives will be disrupted for a long time .

  • NiteNurse

    Joe Barton is my congressman and this is the kind of work he is up to???

  • Gary M Franklin Sr.

    Weak minded people are frauded and stolen from eveyday minute by minute and NOT JUST GAMBLING, LOOK AT YHE STATE LOTTERY FOR EXAMPLE……………..

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