Why is internet gambling illegal?
Many Americans mistakenly thought internet gambling was legal before the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) shut down the largest three online poker sites this past April in what has since been dubbed “Black Friday” by poker enthusiasts.
While members of the federal government have argued that the April shutdown of internet gambling sites arose from the need the government had to stop internet schemes, poker enthusiasts see no benefit to the prohibition.
These online poker players assert, instead, that online poker is a ‘game of skill’ in which people from all across the nation and the world communicate together in a positive and potentially lucrative way. Hearing cries for online poker’s legalization, Texas congressman Joe Barton is trying to make online poker legal once more.
What will Joe Barton do to legalize internet gambling?
Barton has indicated that he intends to make online poker legal in the same way that ‘brick and mortar’ casinos are legal in various states. His plan includes allowing online poker sites to accept players from states all across the country, but still forces the sites to register with a state, such as Nevada or New Jersey, in which gambling is legal and regulated.
Barton asserts that his plan would allow players anywhere in the country to interact with one another through the medium of poker, but would still allow the states to regulate against fraud in the same way they do in regard to ‘brick and mortar’ gambling establishments. Barton has not indicated that any plan he puts forward will re-legalize other forms of online gambling other than poker, however.
What would happen if internet gambling becomes legal in the United States?
Barton expects the bill to free poker enthusiasts to play online while still preserving state interest of fraud prevention. While pushed at a national level, Barton does not want to force states, even states that have some form of ‘brick and mortar’ gambling, to legalize online poker. If a state so desires, under his plan, states would be able to opt out of legalizing online gambling and thereby prevent residents from engaging in internet poker.
Some poker enthusiasts businessly support Barton’s plan to legalize online poker. Others, however, fear that the legislation Barton will propose will create a burdensome bureaucracy which could make online poker playing difficult, expensive, and tedious.
If Barton were able to pass some sort of legalization bill, critics further complain that not every problem created by government interference in the realm of online gambling will be solved. For example, some worry that the bill will allow American poker players to gamble with one another over the internet, but will prevent internet gambling between U.S. residents and people from other countries.