Misconceptions surround proposed Texas Poker Bill

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Jan 05, 2013 Posted in Legal Poker News, US Poker News | No Comments »

trademark_105865316This past week a number of outlets carried a story on the proposed “Texas Poker Gaming Act of 2013”, and the language of the bill (or at least how it has been explained) has caused many people to interpret the bill in different ways. Most notably among these interpretations is the false assertion that the Texas Poker Gaming Act of 2013 would outlaw online poker in the state –which was later corrected by the Poker Player Alliance’s Rich Muny, who Tweeted the error, and reached out to many in the poker media, including yours truly, to better explain the bill.

Muny’s Tweet was an attempt to nip any controversy in the bud, as he explained the proposed legislation would not alter current online poker laws in Texas: “The Texas Poker Gaming Act would not ban online #poker in Texas.”

We first mentioned the bill at PokerNewsBoy.com in a column published on December 21st, titled, Multiple States Moving Forward with Poker Bills. The bill was introduced into the state legislature last month by Democrat Eddie Rodriguez who represents Austin in the State Legislature, and seeks to legalize poker in bingo halls and other established gambling facilities throughout the state, such as pari-mutuel tracks and tribal casinos, and while it would ban electronic poker machines, it would not affect the legality of online poker in Texas.

The bill would allow licensed operators to offer cash games (with a 10% rake up to a maximum of $4 and provides the groundwork for jackpot drops) as well as tournaments so long as the buy-in doesn’t exceed $100 –basically eliminating the possibility that major tours like the WPT, HPT or WSOPC would add stops in Texas to their schedules.

Operators would be taxed 18% under the bill, bringing in much needed revenue to the state’s coffers. Despite being the accepted home of the most popular format in poker, Texas Holdem, the state has only a single poker room (a single legal poker room anyway) at the Lucky Eagle Casino. Illegal poker-rooms have been part of Texas for decades, with operators like Benny Binion having run poker and dice games in the state since the earliest days; games where poker legends like Doyle Brunson, Amarillo Slim, and others got their feet wet before moving to Las Vegas.

While a number of states are flirting with online poker legislation, the Texas Poker Gaming of 2013 does not mention online poker, although the potential for amendments does exist if and when the bill is brought up in the Texas Legislature.

We’ll keep you posted as the bill travels through the Texas Legislature, and will let you know if any amendments are added regarding online poker.


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