Despite previous failures at gaining enough support, federal lawmakers may once again consider a bill to legalize online poker within the next few weeks.
American Gaming Association President Frank Fahrenkopf told Ralston Reports on Tuesday that an Internet poker bill may be introduced soon in the House of Representatives. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) will likely be the legislator sponsoring the bill. Barton has attempted in previous legislative sessions to drum up support for online poker.
Fahrenkopf stated again on Wednesday during the 2013 iGaming North America Conference held at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas that he believes a bill will be introduced in this Congressional session. The AGA CEO was the keynote speaker for the conference and told attendees of the gaming industry that the AGA is still holding out hope that federal Internet gambling legislation can soon be accomplished, the LV R-J reported.
The Reid-Kyl bill that was drafted in the latter portion of 2012 was never introduced. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) has since retired and efforts have been made to locate another conservative Republican from what could be considered a non-gaming state to fill Kyl’s shoes and support federal online poker legislation.
Despite the recent movement by individual states such as New Jersey to pass online gaming legislation, Fahrenkopf and many other industry leaders still believe that a federal online gambling bill would solve problems that may arise in the future concerning a number of states having enacted their own regulations. The AGA president said that Congress may be forced to block partnerships among states hoping to engage in interstate agreements designed to increase player liquidity.
Although federal approval of state partnerships brokered in various other industries hasn’t been an issue recently, those compacts did not involve online gambling for real money, Fahrenkopf warned.
Fahrenkopf has been at the helm of the AGA since its inception in 1995. A former chairman of the Republican National Committee, Fahrenkopf has announced his resignation from the AGA effective at the end of June.