House Bill 1380 seeks to legalise and regulate online poker in New York.
US.- New York state assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow has introduced a bill that would legalise online poker in the state. House Bill 1380 has been referred to the racing and wagering committee for review.
The bill would classify poker as a game of skill, making it legal. The bill specifically names Texas Hold’em and Omaha Hold’em, but also states “as well as any other poker game that the commission determines is the material equivalent of either of those, whether in a cash game or tournament”.
The proposal calls for an amendment to the state’s racing, pari-mutuel wagering and breeding law. Should the bill pass, legislators would add a section to the law that redefines a game of skill versus a game of chance.
The bill states: “These games are considered to be complex forms of poker which involve player strategy and decision-making and which pit the skill levels of the players against each other. As games of skill, these forms of poker do not fall under the definition of gambling as prohibited by the penal law.
“Regulatory oversight is intended to safeguard the integrity of the games and participants and to ensure accountability and the public trust.”
The bill further notes that “the internet has become an integral part of society, and internet poker a major form of entertainment for many consumers” and adds that “any interactive gaming enforcement and regulatory structure must begin from the bedrock premise that participation in a lawful and licensed gaming industry is a privilege and not a right, and that regulatory oversight is intended to safeguard the integrity of the games and participants and to ensure accountability and the public trust.”
The proposal also calls for a one-time, upfront $10m application fee, which would mean only the largest online operators apply. It would not require the operators to partner with state land-based casino entities, potentially opening the door for major international brands. Operators would pay 15 per cent of gross gambling revenue (GGR), with all revenue being directed to the state lottery fund.
The bill states that the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) would promulgate regulations within 180 days of the article becoming law.