Meet the New Barton Bill, Same as the Old Barton Bill

Two years ago to the day, I first shared my thoughts on the “Barton Bill” – a bill that was introduced to the US House of Representative by Texas Republican Joe Barton.  The Barton Bill aimed to legalize online poker at the federal level in the US.  In case you didn’t read my post on the subject from two years ago, to be overly simple and brief, I had concerns.  My concerns were irrelevant – the Barton Bill failed.
This week, following the example of PokerStars, Representative Barton displayed noble persistence by introducing a second piece of legislation aimed at legalizing online poker.  This bill, which Calvin Ayre eloquently referred to as the “Colossal Waste of Congressional Time Act of 2013”, closely resembles the previous Barton Bill.  The new legislation would green light only the game of online poker, meaning that other forms of online betting like sports-betting and online versions of typical casino games such as blackjack would continue to be prohibited at the federal level.
My sentiments haven’t changed much in two years.  I think a poker-only bill is the wrong approach – I think whatever federal legislation ends up passing, it needs to be comprehensive and permit all forms of online gambling (including private raffles and lotteries – hey, I can dream…)  I also think the feds and the state governments need to tread lightly in terms of the license fees they demand.  A framework for licensing won’t mean much if the financial burden it places on operators is unrealistic.
So I’m not really sure what to hope for.  Legalizing poker only at the federal level would be a step in the right direction, but I’d rather hold out for something more comprehensive.  It’s not going to matter though – I don’t give this Barton Bill any more chance of passing than the last.

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