New York is slowly moving towards passing an online poker bill which would allow players within the state to play the game on the internet. There are currently two nearly identical bills looking to regulate online poker in New York, and both regard poker as the game of skill.
Online poker in New York circumventing the penal law
Defining poker as the game of skill allows for the bill to be passed without it colliding with the state’s penal law. With the current proposals, the skill game argument would only be applicable to Texas Hold’em and Omaha, not all poker variations.
However, the bill language allows for other forms of poker to be included in the definition, if they are the material equivalent of these two variations.
New York lawmakers have been flirting with the idea of regulated online poker some time. However, some legislators wanted to wait it out until after new brick and mortar casinos are open in the state. Three of four of these venues have already been opened, with the fourth one coming early next year.
No casino games
Unlike legislative proposals in some other US states, online poker in New York would be regulated as a separate entity, without involvement of other casino games. New York has already passed a bill regulating Daily Fantasy Sports, which is also considered the game of skill.
The currently active bill, proposed by State Senator John Bonanic, has been recently passed by the Senate Gaming Committee. This isn’t the first time for Bonanic’s proposal on online poker in New York to start on the right foot.
Last year, his bill made its way to the Assembly, but it failed to move any further. With conditions now being more favorable and DFS already regulated, online poker regulations stands a much better chance of making it through both chambers and getting the final approval by the governor.
Online poker in New York: A $120 million market
With the population of some 20 million and a lot of people interested in online poker, the newly regulated market could potentially be worth $120 million. According to Bonanic, the proposal for regulated online poker in New York received support from all the potential casinos and nine racinos in the state.
Although DFS were regulated first, Senator Bonanic believes that online poker could be even bigger money maker for New York. The bill regulating online poker in New York would create a safe environment for the players, while simultaneously boosting the state’s budget, creating a clear-cut win-win situation.