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New York Senator introduces Online Poker Bill

The latest poker news from, featuring top stories from around the gambling industry.

New York Senator introduces Online Poker Bill

John-Bonacic-online-poker The legal landscape for USA Online Poker Rooms and online poker players in the United States is going through uncertainties. While three states got the legal online poker playing status the matter is yet to be settled in prime states like California, Texas, Illinois and Iowa. Though bills were introduced within their borders but these remained unsuccessful. Even New York made its own attempt last year but there was not much takers for the bill during the legislative session. However, this should not dampen spirit of online poker players in New York. The good news is that last month, Senator John Bonacic made an effort by introducing an online poker bill in New York. Now the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee is going to work on the bill by discussing its pros and cons. Once they come to a definite conclusion, and hopefully a positive one, then the bill will be passed if it gets majority vote of the Senate.

According to Bonacic’s bill the term “Internet Poker,” has been defined quite clearly. It states that the poker is not a game which depends on luck; rather it should be best described as a skill-based game. So, this concept in a way challenges the federal Unlawful Interne Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which applies for luck-based games only. The bill forced a total shutdown of online poker in 2006. Now, the US Supreme Court is yet to come to a consensus about whether poker is to be legally considered as a chance-based game.

Passing of this bill would mean depositing licensing fee by gambling operators to acquire the initial license which will enable them to operate Internet gambling businesses within the borders of New York. The licensing fee would be $10 million. Also, the operator will need to pay 15 percent of their gambling revenue as annual taxes. Further there is a bad actor clause, which will put a complete ban on operators who have illegally accepted bets from US citizens even after the approval of UIGEA in 2006. Thus they won’t be able to submit application for new licenses. There are provisions in the bill which will help create interstate online gambling compacts.

At present, there are four brand new land-based casinos within borders of New York State which are waiting to receive operation license. The licensing fee varies, based on location. The fees might range between $20 million to $70 million. Then there are three more gambling companies which have already submitted applications and waiting for approval. The cut-off date for submitting license applications for land casino in New York has been decided as 30th of June. Besides, submitted applications will be reviewed by the New York Gaming Facility Location Board in a conference to be held by the end of April.

Thus it can be said that lots are happening in the New York online gaming arena. The online poker gaming community and gambling lawyers are eagerly watching what story unfolds in the state.


Hailing from Wisconsin but arriving in Las Vegas in 1995, I'm better known at various US online poker rooms under the pen name "OreoBob" and "SoyFlush". I'm an avid poker player and editor-at-large who has contributed as a freelance writer for diverse national and international iGaming publications since 2004.

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August 2020