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Texas Pushes to Legalize Online PokerPublished April 2, 2015 by Elana K
Texas Rep. Joe Barton pushes to introduce bill that would regulate online poke in the Lone Star state.
Texas’ Rep. Joe Barton is planning to file a bill that would legalize online poker in the Lone Star State. His bill does not cover lotteries or other games of chance, includes protections to ensure the safety of children and comes along with a regulatory agency to monitor and set limits for players who display unhealthy gambling habits.
“The fear that someone will lose their house or run up credit card debt,” Barton said, “that’s not going to happen.”
Barton’s bill comes at a time when online gambling is facing heavy opposition from many Republican congressmen, with Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah leading the charge. His proposed bill, RAWA, would see online gambling banned across the country. Chaffetz has argued that the issue of online gambling is an “important moral argument,” but at the same time, he is being backed by big-moneyed Sheldon Adelson, who made his own fortune in land-based casinos.
For his part, Barton is optimistic, and thinks that neither RAWA nor the Texas government will be able to prevent him from implementing online poker in its rightful state.
“It’s very ironic that Texas hold ’em poker is played everywhere legally except in Texas,” he said. “But one of these days that will change.”
John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance, has given support to Barton’s bill, and come out strongly against RAWA, which he called the whim of an “unelected billionaire” (Adelson).
Why the Push to Legalize Online Poker?
Tons of Americans have fallen in love with online poker sites - these sites, however, tend to be offshore, unregulated businesses that do not have the consumer’s best interests at heart. Barton, and those who support U.S. regulated online gambling, argue that online gambling regulations are the best way a state can protect its citizens.
Of course, they are also the best way for a state generate income tax, which cannot, and is not, ignored. One of the main considerations that states take into account when considering legalizing online gambling is the state budget deficit that taxes from online gambling can hope to cover.