New York close to online poker regulation

New York close to legalising online poker.

Online poker legalisation in New York could be close. (Credits: New York Senate).

A New York Senate Finance Committee sent to the floor an online poker bill that classifies certain types of poker as games of skill.

US.- Online poker bill S-3898 was sent to the New York Senate floor after a Senate Finance Committee passed it last Tuesday. The bill classifies certain types of poker such as Texas Hold’em and Omaha Hold’em as games of skill rather than luck, making them legal within state borders.

S-3898 was introduced by Senator John Bonacic in 2016 and passed in the Senate but failed to repeat in the Assembly as J. Gary Pretlow shelved it without even discussing it. This year, on January 27, Bonacic re-introduced it as online poker remains a hot topic in New York’s agenda.

Despite Bonacic’s optimism for this year, New York journalist Andrew Whitman reported on his Twitter account that there are “serious objections on the overall idea” of the bill. Whitman quoted Assemblyman Pretlow, who was apparently concerned on the possibility that New York was “making it too easy” to gamble in the state.

He also said that the bill would have to pass through “at least three Assembly committees” before its approval but he believes it can happen quickly enough to beat the Albany session’s ending at the end of June.

Pretlow assured he doesn’t know Governor Andrew Cuomo’s opinion but commented that “if we dangle US$100 billion in front of him (revenue from online poker), he tends to think it’ll be good for the budget.”

The bill would implement standards and safeguards for players to prevent fraud, underage play and compulsive gambling and would contribute to the state coffers with a total of 15 percent of an operator’s gross revenue.