Joe Barton is the US Rep most commonly associated with the argument for online poker; he has taken a really big gamble. Not only for this game, but also for his political career! He has learned when to hold 'em or fold 'em, and recons now is not the right time to walk away from punting an online gambling bill. Many others would have given up the fight a long time ago.
His bill to legalize online poker is only the first step to legalizing online gambling as an entity in the USA. Certainly he believes that now may be the right time to go ‘all-in’.
As far as Barton is concerned playing online poker is no crime, even though the Department of Justice had it outlawed up until the end of last year. This is when their opinion changed on the actual tenets of UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act). Joe Barton maintains that poker is a game of skill, and there are thousands, if not millions of fans of this game who agree wholeheartedly with him - a game of skill should not be outlawed.
It is estimated that in the USA alone – an online poker industry could generate $6 billion in turnover. That is a lot of tax money if the Government gets their share. Currently interstate licensing is the key to getting the industry off the ground. Barton also recons this is a “pressing issue” for the country which cannot afford to lose potential tax revenue to offshore websites. He plays poker at casinos and online for free.
Dozens of co-sponsors have been drawn to Barton's proposals and obviously the poker playing industry offers him tons of support. Barney Frank of Massachusetts,Reps. Shelley Berkley of Nevada, Ron Paul of Lake Jackson and Peter King of New York are all supporting the online gambling industry, but with special reference to poker.
Lawmakers in this country have realized that online gambling is here to stay Globally, and that for the USA it can be a sustainable legal industry. Like Barton says, burying their heads in the sand will not make it just go away. Of course there are still many critics who remain staunch in their opposition that online gambling is a bad thing, but this does not stop millions of Americans from playing their favorite games online. For example Rob Kohler who is a consultant for the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission. They oppose an expanding gambling industry and he recons they “are not going to sit on their hands and just watch”. They believe that this is not “good public policy”.