Summary: Senator Joseph Addabbo has introduced a new online poker bill in New York State.
It seems like it has been forever since an online poker or casino bill has been introduced in the United States. For months now, all eyes have been focused on sports betting. State after state have been creating legislation that will be considered to get started in the new industry. Thankfully, this week, we have seen a senator in New York State decide to introduce legislation involving online poker gaming.
Senate Bill 18
Senator Joseph Addabbo formally introduced Senate Bill 18 this week, seeking to legalize online poker in New York. The bill sits within the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering, a committee in which Addabbo is a member.
The bill is quite similar to legislation that was introduced in the past, seeking to authorize poker only and not focus on sports betting application or online casino gaming. The state is expected to consider sports betting in the future, possibly within discussions of the state budget.
The new bill would see operators of online poker gaming paying a one time fee of $10 million for licensing. A 15% tax rate would be set on gross gaming revenues with 11 licenses up for grabs. Once the law is passed and in effect, the state would have six months to establish regulations for the new industry.
Operators who are eligible to apply for licensing include those who have a license for video lottery gaming as well as a Class III license for gaming.
Will They Succeed in 2019?
Year after year, lawmakers in New York have continued to shoot down any possibility for online poker gaming in the state. Going back as far as 2013, the state saw online poker gaming included in the state budget only to see the idea fail to move forward. A bill was passed in 2016 in the Senate as well as one in 2017, only to be unable to move forward within the Assembly.
Surprisingly, not a single online poker bill has been able to make it to the Assembly floor for a vote. However, this year might be the exception. Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, a lawmaker who has been vocal on online gaming in the past, and is in support of online poker and reportedly is prioritizing his efforts to see it come to pass this year.
Even though he is in favor of online poker gaming, Pretlow is more in favor of sports betting. He even told Online Poker Report late last year that he would give up trying to see online poker come to pass if it meant that sports betting would move forward.
Now, it seems that it will all come down to what is wanted more, online poker or sports betting. It seems the state would be open to both options and lawmakers could create a omnibus package that would allow for both options and even more, like online casino games. However, the state has been unable to see any legislation move forward involving gambling expansions, so lawmakers may be iffy about creating legislation covering several aspects.
Only time will tell what will come of the Senator’s new online poker bill. Hopefully, the measure will be able to move out of committee and venture further within the legal system. All eyes will be on the state, as well as several others, as gambling efforts continue to emerge across the United States.