A Texas legislator who is a longtime proponent of online poker has introduced federal legislation that would allow individual states and Indian tribes to set up their own Internet pacts, while maintaining some national standards of protection against underage gambling online.

Wants Federal Mandate

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) is the sponsor of the bill, known as the Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2013; it’s his second push to get some kind of federal mandate for online poker; his previous attempt never left the table.  And he’s not alone in his quest for some type of Federal overview of Internet gambling in America; Rep. Peter King (R-NY) has also introduced online gambling legislation, but his would be aimed at legalizing all forms of Internet casino gambling across the board.

Poker vs. Casinos Online

Barton says he believes that a “poker only” bill has a better chance of making it through Congress than a broader based bill (good call, since anything has a better chance than zero); he wants a federal system that individual states could then opt out of and “do their own thing.”

Barton issued a statement on his bill, saying that he hoped Congress will “accomplish my goal of protecting the integrity of the game and the rights of those who play it.” Barton claims the bill would provide safeguards for children and problem gamblers; though some say given the probably more stringent state gaming regulatory oversight that those measures may be both redundant and unnecessary.

“Poker is an all-American game,” Barton said. “I continue to be supportive of the Americans who play poker online. They deserve to have a legal, on-shore system that makes sure everyone is playing in an honest, fair structure.”

Such a system already exists in Nevada for poker, with one site, Ultimate Gaming, up and running and another – Caesars Interactive Entertainment’s WSOP brand – due to hit by summer. New Jersey has already legalized all forms of online casino gambling, and it’s expected theirs will launch around Thanksgiving time of this year.