New York Introduces Online Poker Bill

Senator Joseph Adabbo of New York kick-started the state’s efforts this year to introduce legal online poker through the introduction of Senate Bill 18. The bill calls for the legalization and regulation of poker over the internet within state lines.

Senator Adabbo was passed the baton by the now-retired Senator John Bonacic who previously headed the Senate Committee of Racing, Gaming and Wagering. Addabbo is a member of the committee, to where his own proposed bill was referred.

The bill calls for the legalization of online poker, but not online casinos or sports betting. It will allow the state to issue eleven online poker licenses to operators, who will pay a $10 million one-time licensing fee. Operators will need to pay 15% tax on gross gaming revenue.

New York’s Gaming Commission will need to establish online poker regulations within half a year of SB 18 going into effect.

“The Commission shall, within one hundred eighty days of the date this article becomes laws, promulgate regulations to implement interactive gaming in the state and shall authorize up to eleven licenses to operate interactive gaming involving authorized participants, subject to provisions of this article and other applicable provisions of law,” says the bill.

The question remains whether SB 18 has a chance of moving along the legal channels to become law. Analysts believe that New York will be placing all its attention on legalizing sports betting this year, following last year’s ruling by the Supreme Court to allow states to dictate their own sports betting laws. As such, lawmakers may not have the time or inclination to hear arguments for an online poker bill. In fact, some lawmakers have made it clear that if they have to choose between the two, sports betting would win hands down. There are now fears are that online poker will remain behind yet again this year. As of now, no online poker bill has ever reached the Assembly floor.

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