Rep. Barton: House Will Be “Serious” About Online Poker Bill

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The PPA hosted a teleconference with Rep. Joe Barton today regarding the ongoing federal efforts to regulate online gambling in general, and online poker specifically.

Rep. Barton recently introduced his latest attempt to bring regulated poker to the U.S. at the federal level with the Internet Poker Freedom Act.

Here are some highlights from the call:

IPFA – Specifics

  • Barton argues that opt-out provision protects state’s rights.
  • Barton believes tribal concerns regarding past bills have been addressed by this bill.
  • Barton believes it makes sense to restrict online gambling to poker at first due to skill issue.
  • Barton thinks credit cards shouldn’t be allowed due to fact that it increases chance of problem gambling. Also, you can’t use credit cards at a live game, argues Barton.
  • Barton “doubts” Stars or Full Tilt could get a state license.

IPFA – Political future

  • Barton says “House will be serious” about the online poker bill if the Senate is serious.
  • Is Barton collaborating with Reid / Heller? He has not met with them this Congress, but staff is in touch.
  • Barton will release co-sponsors within next few weeks. He’s shooting for a couple dozen, or higher than the number he got last time around.
  • Barton does not have a commitment to hold a hearing yet from Chairman Upton, but seems optimistic about markup.
  • Barton suggested the bill doesn’t have “real momentum” yet.


  • Barton seemed unaware that NJ plans allows online casino games.
  • Barton recalled an anecdote about how his father made more money playing poker from his military work, and name-checked Amarillo Slim as one of his father’s contemporaries.
  • Barton is a 1-3 NLHE and up to 5-10 LHE player when he plays live.
  • Barton is not “against” other forms of gambling, he’s just not “for” them.
  • Barton visited Ultimate Poker HQ, said UP told him they’re meeting / beating expectations so far.
- Chris is the publisher of Grove also serves as a consultant to various stakeholders in the regulated market for online gambling in the United States.
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