Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) recently introduced the Internet Poker Act (H.R. 2366) to legalize Internet poker and establish a structure to license, regulate and tax potential operators.

Language related to the horse racing industry is included in the new legislation.  Similar to legislation that was introduced in the last Congress by Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) but did not pass, H.R. 2366 clarifies that criminal penalties under the Wire Act do not apply to wagers made legally in accordance with the Interstate Horseracing Act.

Additionally, H.R. 2366 establishes the requirements for horse racing entities to apply for a license to offer Internet poker.  To qualify, these entities must be regulated by a state or Indian tribe to accept pari-mutuel wagers on horse racing.  They also must meet one of two additional requirements related to their operations:  the entity must house at least 500 gaming devices at one physical location or must have handled at least $200 million in gross wagering on horse racing for any three of the previous five years.

The legislation has bipartisan support, as seven of its 11 cosponsors are Democrats, and has been referred to the following House committees:  Energy and Commerce, Financial Services and Judiciary.