On Wednesday, the Senate Gaming Committee voted on a bill involving the legalization of online poker in the state of New York. The online poker bill, sponsored by State Senator John Bonacic, passed with flying colors with a vote of 11 to 0. The Finance Committee will now discuss the bill and vote in favor or against.
The proposal by Bonacic actually made it through the Senate in 2016 and advanced to the Assembly with a positive vote of 53 to 5. Yet, the lawmakers in the Assembly did not take up the matter. If the measure were to continue to gain momentum, it would need to be signed into law by the governor after passing through both chambers. There is also a companion bill currently in the Assembly.
New York has currently been focused on commercial casino gaming as four Las Vegas Style gaming venues were approved a few years ago and three of the four venues are already open. The final commercial casino will be open by early next year. Online gaming was under discussion at the same time as commercial casinos but lawmakers decided to hold off on legislation involving the iGaming industry to focus instead on the brick and mortar facilities.
With the bill by Bonacic, a new classification would be given to the game of poker. Poker would be known as a game of skill in the state and as many as eleven online poker gaming licenses would be made available. The New York State Gaming Commission would monitor the industry.
The state is currently only focused on offering online poker gaming and not casino games like other states including their neighbor New Jersey. However, Bonacic’s bill does include creating shared liquidity agreements where the state would be able to enter agreements and share poker player liquidity with other states.