New York Online Poker Bill Introduced By Assemblyman PretlowMay 9, 2014 4:24 pm
Following Senator John Bonacic introducing online poker bill S6913 to the New York Senate in March, assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow (D-Mt. Vernon) has now introduced his near identical bill A09509 to the state assembly, with both bills intended to pave the way for a future legalized and regulated online poker industry in The Empire State.
Central to the assemblyman’s bill is defining poker as a ‘game of skilll’ as envisioned in the New York Federal Court case U.S.v. DiCristina case. Consequently, just like its counterpart, bill A09509 restricts itself to solely internet poker with assemblyman Pretlow seeking to amend the state’s current Racing and Pari-Mutual laws to permit a limited amount of such poker games, “specifically ‘Omaha Hold’em’ and ‘Texas Hold’em.’”
Included in the bill is a provision which will exclude companies which continued to operate in the US market after the UIGEA was passed in 2006 from being considered, such as PokerStars and Full Tilt. This will come as yet another setback for the world’s biggest online poker room PokerStars which has also found itself shut out of the USA’s other regulated markets for what could be seven years or more.
For those companies applicable to apply for a license, a $10 million fee will be required which will then cover it for a ten year period. New York state would then collect 15% of gross gaming revenues in the form of taxes. Those firms would also be eligible to form player sharing pools with other US states.
Over the past year, New York has been forced to take note of other nearby states in the US which have embraced regulated poker, such as New Jersey and Delaware, as well as other potential competitors like Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. In addition to these states, American’s still continue to gamble on unregulated, offshore sites leading lawmakers to conclude it is better to legalize and regulate the industry rather than allow residents to rely on the diligence of these grey market operators. As the bill states:
“Presently, numerous New York residents are participating in illegal, unregulated and unsafe gaming operations which offer games of chance over the Internet. This bill will allow the state to license operators that meet the high standards set by the state and offer limited games of poker which require a high level of skill. This bill will require such operators to take steps to protect consumers, combat compulsive gaming, and prevent minors from accessing online gaming sites.”
Although no great movement is expected on either bill S6913 or bill A09509 this year, the proposed laws will help the state consider all aspects of a future online poker industry and be prepared for when New York considers the time is right to introduce legalization.