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In an unlikely turn of events, a hearing on US legal sports betting may successfully pave the way for online poker. The contested issue at hand is over the illicit doping of racing horses which was part of a bill examined on Friday during a hearing in the Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee.

In an article published in Roll Call, Rep. Joe Barton has seen a chink that may allow him to push forward with online poker, expanding at the current discourse, and even broach the more popular topic of sports betting.

According to Online Poker Report, there has been little information that Barton was willing to share after the recent news broke about his dovish stance on both online poker and sports betting.

Barton and Poker – A New Acquaintance or Old Friendship?

Barton has seemed to be inclined to support poker bills. He has vowed his support for multiple pieces of legislation throughout the years, including:

  • Internet Gambling Prohibition Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening IGUEA Act of 2011
  • Internet Poker Freedom Act
  • Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2015

Barton has put significant efforts in propping up the Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2015 in particular. As such, Barton’s endorsement of poker and online gambling is somewhat well-documented. However, Rep. Andy Barr has been rather opposed to the discussions over horse racing being a shift towards a seemingly unrelated segment.

Barr wants to focus on the establishment of a national Horseracing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority and prefers all side discussions to be kept away from the main point of the issue he wants to solve.

Off to the Races – Poker May Have to Wait

The anti-doping bill may, in fact, garner sufficient endorsement to push past the discussion stages. However, Barr’s bill has been met with some opposition from the House Energy and Commerce Committee and most notably from its Chair, Rep. Greg Walden.

It has most certainly not been easy for online poker to take hold in America. While Nevada and New Jersey enjoy a complete freedom to entertain the action, other states are kept on the sidelines. Recently, there was hoping that New York may push ahead with legalizing online poker. However, any vote on that matter will be postponed until 2019.

May Something Change Hereafter?

Any changes in the regulatory landscape are in fact difficult to broach. Even though the current piece of legislation seems a far-fetched attempt to broach topics that have been unfavored for years, there’s a slim chance that by repeatedly bringing up the topic, lawmakers could at least make it a more comfortable subject in their inner circles.

Success will be contingent upon many factors. First, local support will need to be found and polls will have to be conducted to accurately reflect how state residents feel towards the activity.

Things may indeed be much simpler if lawmakers manage to get support from their electorates and online casinos and poker operators make a determined move into the market in a bid to support the nascent industry.