New York iPoker Bill Clears Senate

New York iPoker Bill Clears SenateOn Tuesday, New York’s online poker bill, S 3898, cleared the State Senate by a vote of 54-8, with the piece of legislation now free to make its way to the Assembly for further consideration. Another online poker bill also noted similar progress last year, but ultimately failed to reach the Assembly, although this time around there exists a greater sense of optimism that progress will be made.
According to the State Senator John Bonacic sponsored bill, the New York State Gaming Commission would be allowed to award up to 11 internet poker licences, but unlike other bills would permit applications from out-of state business, with S 3898 stating that applicants can be “current licensed operators of video lottery gaming in New York or from states with similar licensing requirements.” Furthermore, provisions have been made to allow interstate agreements to be formed with other regulated markets across the US.
In terms of benefits for the state, operators would have to pay $10 million in order to receive a licensing fee, whilst being subject to a 15% tax rate on their gross gaming revenue. One operator that is unlikely to reap the rewards of an online poker expansion in New York, however, is PokerStars, as on June 5th, Sen. Bonacic added a ‘bad actor’ clause to S 3898, which forbids licenses being issued to those operators who “wilfully accepted” online customers after 2006 when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was introduced.
Commenting on the success of S 3898 in the New York State Senate, and its prospects going forward, Sen. Bonacic siad that he would continue working closely with his colleagues in the Assembly to ensure that the piece of legislation clears both houses prior to the end of session. In support of the bill, Bonacic also made the following statement:
“Presently, numerous New York residents are participating in illegal, unregulated and unsafe gaming operations over the Internet. This bill serves two main purposes in allowing New Yorkers access to regulated online poker while providing critical consumer protections and increasing revenues to the state for education and taxes via operator licenses.”

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