The latest attempt at regulating US poker

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Poker players in the United States are anxiously waiting for their favourite game to be regulated on a federal level but so far all attempts were inconclusive. Joe Barton made the latest move after his previous online poker legislation fell flat, and there are several reasons to doubt the success of the new one. It has a fancy name, but behind the Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2013, there are several issues that need to be addressed for this bill to have a decent chance at passing.

What makes this bill special is that it has high expectations and if implemented, it would produce effects on a national scale with states being automatically included in the system. Naturally, they have the option to decline participation and poker operators will have to block the access of players from those particular states. Tribes have always been the exception at least federally recognised ones, so the players located on those territories could still be allowed to participate, unless the tribes opt out as well.

The Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2013 couldn’t have possibly had a more generic title, but it is one of the few bills aimed exclusively at regulating online poker. Previous bills treated online gambling as a whole and only made references to Internet poker, which is one of the reasons cited by Barton to explain their failure. Even though there is no guarantee that this particular bill will pass, there is no shortage of interested poker companies, so they should get familiar with the eligibility requirements.

Any prospective licensee will need to have a flawless criminal record, as those delinquent on taxes or convicted for a crime won’t meet the requirements. Furthermore, those who plan on gaining operator status should have owned a casino with 500 or more slot games for at least five years before applying for a license. There are also a couple of paragraphs in the Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2013 about the bad actors, namely company who broke the law in the past, who won’t be allowed to apply for a license.

The American public is starting to lose confidence in these bills and even though this one is far from perfect, players could settle for some sub-par legislation. There will be a couple of obstacles blocking their way such as the prohibition on poker played in Internet cafés, but this is something that most poker players can live without. Another element that the poker bill includes is the prohibition of any poker bots and devices that might give some players or poker companies an edge over others.