Online Poker Legislation Introduced in New York

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Senator John Bonacic of New York has decided to renew efforts to see online poker legalized in the state with the introduction of a new online gambling bill. S 3898 was introduced by the senator last month and will now be reviewed by the Senate’s Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee. Bonacic is actually the chairman of the committee so it would not be surprising to see the measure move forward.

The goal of the new bill is to re-interpret specific online poker formats to be considered as games of skill. If the bill were to be signed into law, then online variants including Omaha and Texas Hold’em would be legalized in the state. In the bill, information is presented on how operations of online poker would be regulated as well as taxed in the state. Eleven online poker gaming licenses would be up for grabs and the New York State Gaming Commission would be in charge of monitoring the interactive provision of the games.

The new bill includes eligibility terms for operators, which like most states who are considering the legalization of online gaming, land-based casino operators would be able to apply. In New York, video lottery operators are also eligible. Operators who are approved for licensing would be required to pay a fee of $10 million for the ten year license.

On top of legalizing the activity, Bonacic’s bill also would create shared liquidity agreements with other states where online poker is legalized. Currently, only Nevada and Delaware share poker player liquidity. New Jersey is the only other state offering online gaming but one that has not decided to create shared liquidity agreements as of yet.

This is not the first time Senator Bonacic has tried to see online poker legislation pass into law. Last summer, Bonacic sponsored a similar measure that was able to pass through the Senate but failed to move through the State Assembly.


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