Opposition to Barton Online Poker Bill from State Lotteries

By Maria McCoyGoogle

Joe Barton, the Republican Representative from Texas’s 6th congressional district, sponsored a bill last summer called the 2011 Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act.  A number of state-level politicians are now opposing the bill on the grounds that it will interfere with the income states receive from their local lotteries.  Additional opposition is also voiced from academic institutions that fear that the loss of lottery income will dry up the funding of the scholarship programs.

In states like Georgia and Tennessee, the HOPE Scholarship receives funding from the state lottery.  University of Memphis President Shirley Raines explained that this scholarship is the only opportunity for students from underprivileged backgrounds to attend university.  She expressed her fear that if online gambling were to become legal in Tennessee, the lottery may see a reduction of revenue and the HOPE Scholarship with it.

Tennessee 9th District Representative Steven Cohen opined that, in contrast to Raines’s fears, online casino games will have no impact on lottery revenues.  Cohen cosponsored the bill with Barton; based on his familiarity with the issues he says that the two attract different segments of the population.  He further added that when usa online casinos do become legal, he hopes that states will use some of the tax revenue to further assist the scholarship programs.

This bill, however, is not the final word regarding legalization.  Some online casino reviews have reserved optimism, for on the one hand it is a step towards legalization, but it still requires individual legislation efforts for each and every state.

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