Regulated Poker in the Empire State?

As bills are being introduced at the federal level to ban all forms of regulated online gaming, New York, and in particular State Senator John J. Bonacic will be hoping that any attempts to stop online gaming in the US, fall flat on their face. Senator Bonacic introduced bill 6913 last week that would legalize and regulate online poker in New York State, with a short memo that accompanied that bill stating that the bill is, “To authorize the New York State Gaming Commission to license certain entities to offer for play to the public certain variants of internet poker which require a significant degree of skill, specifically "Omaha Hold'em" and "Texas Hold'em".

The memo continues with remarks regarding the fact that many residents of New York are currently playing online poker at unregulated sites and that the state, after regulation, would generate tax revenue and also offer a degree of security for online poker players. The bill in itself is simple and straightforward, only speaking of poker and that a maximum of 10 internet poker licenses would be handed out, at a cost of $10 million each. Tax would stand at 15% of gaming gross revenue and operators would need to prove that their product has all required safety measures in place, protecting against fraud, underage gambling and the likes. There’s a bad actor clause in the bill which would rule out any participation from companies that accepted online wagers post UIGEA, the biggest of those of course being PokerStars. There’s hope that the bill may succeed and if so we could see real money online poker in New York within 12 months. Many residents of the state enjoy their game at the moment at online rooms such as BetOnline who offer big tourneys and plenty of cash games, and for the time being at least, these rooms are where New York’s poker players get their action.



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