New York Senator Files Online Poker Legislation

Last year was not a good one for online poker efforts in New York. However, hopefully 2020 will be a different story. Already, Senator Joseph Addabbo has filed a bill, ready to push for his state to offer poker gaming online. Lawmakers in New York have been filing legislation in an effort to see the option legalized for about seven years now with no success.

Continued Efforts

The legislation is the same as it was in 2019. The terms are easy to understand and if passed into law, S 18 would remove the game of poker from a prohibited games list in the state. The constitutions limits games with certain exceptions from when casino gaming was launched in 2013.

The Senator’s bill would allow up to 11 licenses for online poker. Each license would be good for a 10 year time frame and would cost $10 million per operator. The new industry would be taxed at 15%. Regulated and unregulated sites must pay this tax amount.

With the legislation, there is no bad actor clause which would stop such sites as PokerStars from offering gaming in the state. In some states, bad actor clauses are considered to stop brands that provided online gaming services when it was prohibited in the US based on the UIGEA.

The bill has been sent to the Gaming, Racing and Wagering Committee. This committee is one that Senator Addabbo chairs. A 4924 is a matching bill that Assemblyman Gary Pretlow presented that will help to push online poker to the forefront of Legislature.

Both Addabbo and Pretlow have been driving forces behind expanding gambling in the state in general. Pretlow has been involved since the beginning and Addabbo took the place of Senator John Bonacic, another proponent of gaming in the state who retired in 2019.

Focusing on Sports Betting

After the Supreme Court ruled that sports betting was an option for individual states to offer, New York took a break from online poker efforts and focused on it. This was a smart decision as the revenue expectations were far larger than what online poker could provide. Plus other neighboring states were offering sports betting, so to stay in competition, it had to be legalized.

Both Addabbo and Pretlow have been working for the past two years to see sports betting extended to online and mobile options. The Assembly has not provided enough support and the governor is also not on board. It seems the governor is worried that the constitution is a barrier for online sports betting to come to pass.

Also being considered were additional licensing for casinos in the downstate section of New York, near New York City. Addabbo has been focusing efforts on this region.

Overall, changes are being made in New York and hopefully poker players will find that they have online options in the not so distance future. If the bill can gain enough support, New York might be the next to pass online poker in the US.

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett