New York iPoker Bill Receives Positive Committee VoteFebruary 17, 2017 1:22 pm
An online poker bill that was introduced by New York State Senator John Bonacic last month has just cleared the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee by a unanimous margin of 11-0, with the piece of legislation’s next stop now the Senate Finance Committee.
In addition to classifying poker as a game of skill, thus paving the way for online poker to be legalized and regulated in The Empire State, bill S3893 sets the groundwork for up to 11 online poker licenses to be issued at a cost of $10 million each. A further provision has also been included allowing for interstate compacts to be formed with other like-minded states.
To its south, New Jersey has an online poker market that was worth $26.5 million in 2016, and according to estimates New York with twice its neighbor’s population has the potential to generate revenues of $120 million in year-one alone.
Following the bill’s smooth sailing thus far, Sen. John Bonacic expressed his resolve to see S3893 remain on the “front burner”, stating:
“Now that the Online Poker Bill has been reported out of Committee, I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and in both houses, to ensure that this bill receives fair and timely consideration this legislative session.”
This is not the first time Bonacic has exerted efforts to push through iPoker legislation, though, and last year a similar bill proposed by him progressed through the Senate by a vote of 53-5 vote. However, the Assembly failed to even take up the bill, with J. Gary Pretlow, who chairs the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee in the Assembly, throwing up various objections to the bill. One of arguments presented by Pretlow tried to dismiss poker as being a ‘game of skill’, with the Assemblyman commenting last year:
“In poker, you’re betting and you’re changing the bet by raising. That’s gambling. In my legislative finding, I found DFS is not gambling. I can’t find that poker is not gambling.”
This year, however, there are indications that Pretlow is more willing to offer his support for an online poker push in the New York legislature.