The Fight: A Rundown of the House Hearing on Online Poker

Bluff-logoTuesday, online poker got to spend some time in the spotlight in Washington, D.C. as the House Subcommittee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing weighing the pros and cons of legalizing and regulating online gambling in the United States and the pro-poker bill HR 2366, known more commonly as the Barton Bill.

What Happened in the Hearing:
For a little over an hour, the Committee, which included the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), heard testimony and asked questions of a six-person panel of experts which include former Senator and Poker Players Alliance Chairman Alfonse D’Amato, Parry Atfab of of Fair Play USA, Chapman University Law Professor and consumer protection expert Kurt Eggert, Executive Director of the National Council on Problem Gambling Keith Whyte, Ernest Stevens of the National Indian Gaming Association, and Dan Romer of the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

The panelists comprised a wide array of viewpoints and, as a result, the hearing covered a range of topics including possible mechanisms to verify the age of players, the problems of bots, HUD tools and datamining potentially creating an unfair advantage in the online poker world, the successes and problems experienced by European countries with similar regulatory systems already in place, and whether or not Indian nations deserved first entree into the marketplace, should regulation come to pass.

The questions from members of the committee also covered a broad spectrum, with some of the members being expressing skepticism about the idea of regulation. Rep GK Butterfield (D-North Carolina) and Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Mississippi) expressed concerns about being unable to adequately protect children and problem gamblers from online gambling.

Read the full article.

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