Poker in Texas Legalization is Contingent upon Federal's Internet Poker Bill Being Passed

Joe Barton who is the Texas congressman has advocated for the legalization of online poker, while the State lawmakers are continuing to push for legalized poker in Texas.

Poker players in Texas are disadvantaged

There are few options open for Texan players in this conservative state. Could things be changing? Currently the only legal poker in Texas are the two brick-and-mortar card rooms and online poker is prohibited in al but three US states. Lawmakers have pushed for the legalization of Poker state-wide, but have not been successful. The Poker Gaming Act of 2013, if it had passed, would have allowed for the existing parimutuel facilities, such as, bingo halls, and tribal entities to apply for licenses to offer poker games. Online poker was not included in the bill. A state senator has proposed that a bill be passed that will authorize regulated online gaming under the Federal Law. Senator Leticia Van de Putte is currently pushing for legalization of Internet poker within Texas, this is contingent upon the U.S, government to pass a federal online gambling bill, this is a very big “if” for it to be passed. Should the State Senate accept her bill, then it will require the State of Texas to be opted into the Federal online poker bill.

Not Alone

Sen Van de Putte is not alone she will have some backing in the US Congress from a fellow Texan, the Republican Rep. Joe Barton, who is a proud poker player, and he wants to see online poker legalized at Federal level, and each state given an opportunity to decide if they wish to opt in or not. He said that poker is an all-American game a game he learned as a teen and still continues to play today, like millions of players, he enjoys the strategy and skill involved in the game. Mr. Barton has recently re-introduced a bill that was previously proposed to Congress to legalize poker at the Federal level and giving each state the choice to either opt in or decline. On three occasions he has pushed for online poker legislation. Mr Barton is fighting a difficult battle, he is competing against Sheldon Adelson the Las Vegas casino mogul, who is a strong proponent against Internet poker. Mr. Adelson’s efforts at preventing Federal government passing a bill allowing citizens to legally play poker online has been successful because of lining the pockets of lawmakers. At best Mr. Barton will require an Herculean effort as well as the support from fellow Congress members.

Gaming Bills Ignored in Texas

Sam Von Kennel the only legal stand alone card room owner said that to pass a bill legalizing poker in the state is very difficult, this is due to lack of interest at State Senate. He continued that the legalization of poker is a four-step process, and that no one gets to step one. The reason Texas Card Room is considered to he a legal poker room is because they have a membership only business, this is not a traditional casino. And Mr. Von Kennel said that there is always a possibility that his establishment could be shut down, up to now he has been lucky to remain open. Unless there are more powerful people within Texas who begin showing interest and support for both online and offline poker, Mr. Von Kennel’s poker card room will continue to remain the only legal place for Texan residents to be able to play poker for good.