New York Adds ‘Bad Actor’ Language to Online Poker Bill

New York Adds ‘Bad Actor’ Language to Online Poker BillNew York may be inching towards passing legislation that will eventually lead to a state regulated online poker industry, but unlike its southern neighbor New Jersey, steps have been taken to exclude PokerStars from reaping any potential benefits. That’s because “bad actor” language has now been added to the Sen. John Bonacic (photo) sponsored Senate Bill 3898 that deems any operator that flaunted the UIGEA post-December 31, 2006, as being unsuitable to receive an iPoker license.
That obviously applies to PokerStars which eventually ceased offering its products to US players after its domain was seized by the FBI in April of 2011, on a day known in the poker world as Black Friday. While the Rational Group, which owned PokerStars at that time, was subsequently purchased by Canadian firm Amaya in 2014, the change in ownership will not be allowed to circumvent the rules, as it will be taken to apply to any company that “has purchased or acquired, directly or indirectly, in whole or insignificant part.. a covered asset in connection with interactive gaming.”
The latest development comes on the heel of last month’s apparent revelation that Amaya’s former CEO David Baazov had made an illegal donation of $25,000 to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2014 election campaign, after which ‘bad actor’ language was subsequently struck from a previous version of Sen. John Bonacic internet poker bill the next year. Commenting on the latest changes made to Senate Bill 3898, a spokesperson for Bonacic stated:
“Senator Bonacic amended the online poker bill to provide the Gaming Commission with the opportunity to take into consideration an applicant’s prior bad acts in relation to determining suitability for a license. He is committed to moving the bill forward and looking forward to working with his colleagues in the Senate and Assembly to do so.”
While Bonacic is hoping to set up a vote in the Senate before lawmakers adjourn for the summer, the bill’s chances of success have now been severely curtailed as Amaya and other interested parties will likely now start lobbying to have the piece of legislation’s language changed. Furthermore, in its present form, it appears any potential liquidity-sharing online poker deal between New York and New Jersey following legislation would also have to be abandoned.

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