Poker Takes a New Form in the State of Texas

April 3, 2013

The state of Texas is modifying its laws in order to accommodate online poker and other online casino games for all the poker enthusiasts within the state. According to Representative, Eddie Rodriguez, a sponsor for one of the online poker bills in the region, poker players are treated equivalent to criminals at present, and this perception of the state needs to be changed. He feels that a lot of states in the United States are following a progressive approach towards online poker, and Texas should follow their example as well. He stresses on the notion that poker is a game that requires skill, and he is hoping that the state legislative house will develop a positive approach towards online poker in the near future.

The 2013 online poker bill in Texas

The Poker Gaming Act of 2013 and the Social Poker Gaming Act of 2013 have been introduced in the Texas state legislative house. Both these acts aim at getting online poker a legal status within the state, and they have been worded keeping in mind that poker is a skilled game, as opposed to other casino games.

According to the Director of Poker Players Alliance in Texas, Matt Allen, poker is a famous pastime game for a large population of Americans. He feels that the state authorities need to view poker like any other means of entertainment and then decide whether or not it should be legalized. The supporters of online poker agree with Allen’s point of view, and they have stated that they enjoy playing poker in their free time. They also stated that unlike other casino games, players need to be skilled to win money in online poker games, so the state authorities should not equate online poker to regular casino games.

The details of the poker acts within the state

The poker acts that have been introduced within the state at present focus on online poker and social poker clubs, but they don’t include video poker or any other form of casino games. The Poker Gaming Act of 2013 proposes a social poker club system, where only the members of the club will be allowed to play poker. So the players will have to register themselves with the clubs in order to play online poker. The licensing process for these clubs will be handled by the Department of Licensing and Regulation within the state, so only the operators with a decent legal track record will be allowed to open these clubs in the region.

The present status of poker in the state of Texas

At present, friendly poker, where the entire pot money goes to the winning player is not considered illegal in Texas. However, poker games in which the casino gets a share of the pot money are considered illegal by the state authorities, and the current online poker bills are drafted with the intention to get this form of poker legalized in the state.

If the residents wish to play online poker, they have access to online casinos run by overseas operators. If the state authorities legalize online poker within Texas, the residents will be able to access websites operated by local casino providers, the winnings from the game will be taxed, and the entire gaming system will be regulated. This will make online poker safer for the residents, which is why the supporters of online poker want the state to legalize it.

Opposition against online poker

Even though, at present, a lot of the US states are legalizing online poker within their premises, there are a few people who are staunchly against the legalization of online poker. According to a Christian Life Commission Consultant, Rob Kohler, legalization of online poker will lead to a lot of social problems. He feels that the state authorities should not legalize online poker in the greed to earn more revenue, as that revenue will not benefit the state.

Using the online poker revenue in developmental areas

In order to clarify the point of view that online poker revenue will not benefit the state, the supporters and sponsors of online poker bills have emphasized on how the state authorities can use this revenue for the development of the state. According to experts, the revenue collected by the Texas state authorities will be sent to the Department of Housing and Community Affair within the state. This Department will use the funds in order to build housing complexes for the economically underprivileged residents within the state.

In addition to this, the state authorities will be able to donate grants to nonprofit organizations and communities with the help of this revenue. So with the help of the grants, the communities will be able to alleviate the living conditions of the homeless people within the state, and they will be able to better the medical facilities available to the residents.

According to Rodriguez, legalization of online poker will help the state authorities deal with the existing social problems in a better way, than create more social problems. He feels that if the online gaming industry is regulated within the state, the players will have the opportunity to play in a safe environment, and the state authorities will be able to use the revenue from the industry in their yearly budget. So he is hoping that the state authorities will consider all the online poker bills, keeping this point of view in mind.