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Online Poker Bill Introduced In New York

Empire State Home To Proposal For Regulating Web Poker


The state of New York is again taking a hard look at online poker within its borders.

A proposed law was introduced into the Senate on Friday, which calls for the authorization of online poker, a game referenced as one in which requires skill, and for the awarding of 10 licenses. Each license would be good for a decade, costing $10 million apiece. Revenues would also be subjected to taxes, which, if the bill passed right now, would be 15 percent.

The proposal comes after New York voters last year said OK to a handful of commercial Las Vegas-style casinos, which will pop up in the state in the coming years.

The idea behind New York’s web poker plan is simple. The bill read: “[…] as the Internet has become an integral part of society, and Internet poker a major form of entertainment for many consumers, any interactive gaming enforcement and regulatory structure must begin from the bedrock premise that participation in a lawful and licensed gaming industry is a privilege and not a right, and that regulatory oversight is intended to safeguard the integrity of the games and participants and to ensure accountability and the public trust.”

Texas hold’em and Omaha would be allowed, in addition to other forms of poker the state deems to be OK. Other casino games like blackjack and roulette would not be authorized.

New York could join Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey as the only other states with legalized intrastate online gaming. Nevada and Delaware have struck a deal to eventually share liquidity for the games, something that the New York proposal allows for, too.

Earlier this month, the state picked a regulator for its new commercial casinos.

The Empire State is also home to an existing tribal casino industry, which is considered distinct from commercial. More than a dozen tribal casinos and racinos already take gambling business from residents and visitors to New York.

If the state does authorize online poker, it would presumably create a high-stakes battle over who would get the coveted licenses. Close to 20 million people call the Empire State home, making it one of the most populous in the country. Online poker thrives on liquidity, so New York, which has far more residents than Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware combined, would be a very attractive environment for online gaming firms.

The bill introduced last week comes a little more than a year after the New York Senate said it supported online poker, as lawmakers were discussing the state budget.