Second online poker bill introduced in New York

New York Officially Licenses 3 Commercial Casinos

A second bill looking to legalize online poker in the state of New York was introduced late last week.

The new bill A4924 was introduced in the New York House of Assembly by assemblyman, and Chair of the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, Gary Pretlow. It follows in the footsteps of a similar bill, SB18, filed in the New York State Senate by Joseph Addaboo earlier this year.

Both bills are almost identical except for one major difference. Addabbo’s bill includes a ‘bad actor’ clause that could bar online poker operators who continued to take bets after the introduction of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

Under this provision online poker operators like PokerStars could be shutout of the industry in New York. There is no ‘bad actor’ clause or language in Pretlow’s bill.

Both bills do call for online poker to be reclassified as a game of skill in New York. This would allow online poker to become legal in the state without any changes or amendments being made the to state constitution. Both bills also call for an application fee of $10 million for any operator looking to enter the industry, and a 15 per cent tax rate on gross revenue.

Pretlow’s bill also has language that would make it easier for New York to enter future interstate compacts to share player liquidity. This is interesting as the reversal of the wire act decision earlier this year by the Department of Justice made the future of these type of compact unknown.

Pretlow has introduced similar bills in the House numerous times, including last year, with no success. It’s unknown what kind of support his latest attempt will receive but another recent bill introduced in the House may throw a wrench into his plans.

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That bill, A0951 was introduced by Democratic assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal. It called for “a statewide evaluation regarding the extent of gambling by New York state residents, including, but not limited to the lottery, horse racing, Native American casinos, internet gambling, sports betting, and poker.”

If such a review was allowed to go through, it is expected to last until 2023 which could hamper any advances in legalizing any forms of gambling, including online poker in New York.

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