Despite Joe Barton’s assurances that his Internet poker bill will pass the House floor with enough votes, the lack of co-sponsors tells a different story.
Joe Barton, the Congressman from the state of Texas who is pushing a Bill that would bring countrywide legality to Internet poker, believes that he has the support he needs to make it happen. As far as he is concerned, it is simply a matter of putting his legislation to the vote and this could happen by the summer of 2012.
On the face of it, this is encouraging news for poker players who are itching to hone their skills and boost their bankrolls using Internet poker rooms they can trust that are safe, secure and regulated. Unfortunately, this rose tinted view of what sounds like an almost inevitable outcome has a less than solid foundation. That foundation is laid up in the strength of numbers of co-sponsors supporting it and this Bill only has twenty five of them to date.
When you consider that the House of Representatives has 435 voting members, to get a Bill passed requires a minimum of 218 votes. There would be rather more confidence in the chances of that Bill getting through if there were more than a mere 12 percent of that number that could be counted on with any certainly. It certainly isn’t gaining any momentum either.
Barton’s HR 2366, which has been given the lengthy title of “The Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2011,” was introduced at the end of June with eleven co-sponsors. It took until the middle of August to reach its current number of twenty five. That means it has gone cold with not a single additional co-sponsor adding their names to the list in over four months.
To get some comparison, last year’s attempt by Barney Frank to get a similar Bill passed attracted seventy co-sponsors. That was considered too few to pass the House floor back then.
While the lack of firm support is evidenced in the low number of co-sponsors for this Bill, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is doomed to fail. As long as there are people with sufficient influence working away behind the scenes, a positive vote can still happen. The actual purpose of having co-sponsors for a Bill is to demonstrate to the leadership of the House that it must be addressed.
Poker players across the country want to believe Joe Barton will succeed. But until there is evidence of some real momentum behind his Bill, they should not get their hopes up too much.