New York introduces online poker bill

The Empire State will try once again to move forward with legalized online poker

If New Yorkers never get the opportunity to legally play poker online, it won’t be because lawmakers haven’t tried. A new bill introduced by Senator Joseph Addabbo seeks to find approval for the pastime, marking the latest in a series of attempts to find online poker legislation that goes back at least five years.

The bill, Senate Bill 18, would only authorize online poker – not other casino games. Previously, bills have made it partially through the Empire State’s legislative body, once in 2017 and again in 2017, but neither was able to survive the final gavel. This time could spell victory for online poker, as the bill could find support in the Senate and already has limited support in the Assembly.

Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow, who is a supporter of the game, would most likely try and drum up additional “ayes” from his fellow politicians. However, Pretlow has also said that he prefers sports gambling above online poker, telling Online Poker Report, “Online poker, I think the revenue for the state is projected at $20-25 million, while this is $150 million minimum. I have a much better argument for sports betting.”

Senate Bill 18 would authorize a one-time licensing fee in the amount of $10 million for each operator wanting to get into the action. Those licensed operators would then have to pay a 15% tax on their gross gaming revenue – not an insurmountable amount. In total, 11 licenses would be up for grabs and could only be awarded to entities in the state that already have video lottery or Class III gaming licenses.

With 19.5 million residents, New York is the fourth largest state in the U.S. To put things into perspective, the current largest state to have legalized online poker is New Jersey, and it only has 9 million residents. If Empire lawmakers can make headway and see clear to approve an online poker bill, it could go a long way to improving the state’s economy.

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