Another Online Poker Bill Proposed in New York

Another Online Poker Bill Proposed in New YorkWith one online poker bill (S 6913) already under consideration since March, a New York legislator introduced another bill that mirrors the first.

State Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow (D-Mt. Vernon) proposed Bill A 9509 before the State Assembly yesterday, following in the footsteps of a measure floated less than two months ago by Senator John J. Bonacic (R-Mt. Hope) in the State Senate. Both legislative houses can now take the matter of [geolink href=””]Internet poker legislation in New York[/geolink] under consideration.

Like S 6913, Pretlow proposes that 10 licenses be made available by the New York State Gaming Commission with a $10 million fee attached to each. The licenses would not expire for 10 years. Gross gaming revenues would face a tax of 15%.

With regard to bad actors, the new bill also seeks to exclude those gaming companies who continued to operate in the U.S. market following enactment of the UIGEA by the Bush administration in 2006. Though the UIGEA took effect in October of that year, Pretlow’s proposal sets December 31, 2006 as the cut-off date for online poker sites to have stopped accepting real-money wagers from American players.

Bill A 9509 includes provisions that would permit New York to partner with other states in order to combine player pools via an interstate compact. Nevada and Delaware have forged the first such partnership and are expected to take bets under such a scheme later this year.

The only other state that has regulated online poker and gambling thus far, New Jersey, has yet to enter into any interstate compact agreement although discussions with Nevada officials have taken place. However, declining player traffic numbers as of late may prompt New Jersey to get in on the game sooner rather than later.

Pretlow is the Chairman of the Committee on Racing and Wagering and that is precisely where his proposal is headed for the first round of discussion and debate. Those discussions are likely to include cheating and possible collusion in Internet poker, an area in which Pretlow has previously vocalized concerns.

New York voters approved a referendum last November that will allow the state to expand land-based casino gambling beyond the five casinos that are currently operated by Indian tribes. The construction of a handful of new casinos is planned that aims to keep New Yorkers who visit casinos in other states from hopping the border.

With two online poker bills now up for approval, there is a chance that New York may expand its gambling offerings to include the Internet. Should one of the proposals receive the required number of “aye” votes, the state gaming commission would likely establish regulations within a six-month time frame.

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett