Representative Joe Barton has become an instant hero to millions of online gamblers in the US. The Texas Republican is in the final stages of unveiling a new bill that would regulate online poker in the country, and players all across the nation are watching the developments closely.
This weekend, Barton will be cheered loudly when he starts play at the World Series of Poker on Saturday. Barton joins a list of pro-online poker lawmakers that have made the famous announcement in Sin City. The WSOP has tens of thousands of poker enthusiasts at the RIO this summer.
Barton brings more of a Conservative voice to the online poker debate that will surely follow his proposed Internet gambling bill. In the past, Representative Barney Frank has led the charge to regulate online gambling, but he did not have enough bipartisan support to get the legislation passed.
Frank has been actively pursuing a change to the online gambling laws in the US since the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was created back in 2006. Since then, the Department of Justice has sent several messages to Internet gambling site operators that their presence in the country would not be tolerated.
Up until this year, online sports books were the primary target of the government, but that changed when Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars, and Absolute Poker were indicted earlier this year. The indictment triggered millions of poker players calling their representatives and voicing their displeasure with online poker prohibition.
Barton is one of the lawmakers that has heeded the warning of the large group of voters. His new plan will give players the freedom they desire, but it does have an opt-out clause for any state that wants to remain in the prohibition era. Rep. Barton worked closely with the Poker Players Alliance in crafting the new law that is expected to be proposed sometime in the coming week.