Online Poker

Texas Proves Poker is Far from Accepted in US

by AintLuck.com Poker Team

Although some steps have been made as of late towards the legalization of online poker and online gambling in general, yesterday, the Texas Legislature reminded all that acceptance of poker in this country is still an uphill battle.  Bill HB 222, introduced by Representative Jose Menendez was drafted in the hopes of legalizing poker in the state which originally introduced poker’s most popular and mainstream form, Texas Hold em.  However, the bill was pushed to the backburner, now carrying a “Postponed” label, without it ever even coming up for an official vote.

Last month, the bill was approved by a committee and was pushed forward to the Legislature.  However, the Governor of the state of Texas, Rick Perry, has been quite vocal in his stance against the recognizing of the game as one of skill and as a result, Menendez withdrew the motion from current consideration.  It is well-known in the state that Perry would veto HB222 the moment it landed on his desk so to continue the matter seemed like an exercise in futility.

In making his announcement, Menendez quoted a popular Kenny Rogers song about poker by stating :

“’You need to know when to hold them and you need to know when to fold them.’ HB 222 would have clarified poker as a game of skill under Texas state law. Its text noted, “The development of regulated poker gaming in this state will benefit the general welfare of the people of this state by enhancing investment, development, and tourism, resulting in new jobs and additional revenue.”

The bill itself had several positives in its makeup.  It proposed a 16% tax on establishments running poker games while taxing charitable poker tournaments at 5%.  The proceeds of the proposed taxation would then have been set aside for the state’s multitude of social projects, including but not limited to homeless shelters, and assistance in finding homes for those individuals not having one.

In addition, the bill would have established a Poker Gaming Commission which would ensure the legality and fitness of such enterprises.  Menendez has stated that he plans to propose another poker bill in about 2 years time, with the hopes that he could then muster the 2/3 votes needed from the legislature to overcome veto attempts by the governor.  It appears that his current 3rd attempt is not quite the charm.

In turning away this instant revenue stream which would have accrued from taxes and licensing fees, Texas now has opted to wait for a financial bailout package from the US Federal Government.

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