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New York Senate Approves Online Poker Legislation

State Assembly Now Must Pass Legislation This Week

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The Empire State’s Senate on Tuesday voted 53-5 in favor of a bill to regulate online poker. It’s a huge milestone for New York’s online poker discussions, but it still needs to pass the Assembly and then be signed by the governor.

The legislative session ends Thursday.

Under the bill, online poker revenue would be taxed at a 15-percent rate and the state would get $10 million per online poker license. The legislation has the support of Nevada-based casino giant MGM Resorts International.

“We applaud the Senate for passing this sensible legislation that will help protect New Yorkers who have for years played online poker on unprotected, off-shore poker websites that today operate with no regulation, fraud controls, or age restrictions," John McManus, the company’s general counsel, said in a statement. "This bill will open opportunities for all providers of online poker to deliver a safe, regulated alternative.”

New York, home to nearly 20 million people, could be one of the most lucrative online poker markets in the country behind California. The Empire State market is estimated to be worth $120 million after year one.

New York’s Senate Finance Committee moved the bill to a full floor vote earlier this month. Before that, the legislation successfully passed the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee.

State Senator John Bonacic, sponsor of the bill, recently said in an interview that “all of the gaming interests” want online poker.

The window of opportunity for this year isn’t going to be open much longer, however.

“Today marks a major achievement for internet poker regulation, but to be complete this bill must get to Governor Cuomo’s desk for signature,” John Pappas, executive director of the PPA, said in a statement. “With the state legislative session coming to an end this week, now is time for the Assembly to make iPoker regulation a priority. The consumer case for internet poker regulation is clear, plus it will raise millions in new revenue for the state without raising taxes."