Senator aims to legalise online poker in New York State

New York State could legalise online poker, thanks to a bill introduced to the State Senate last Friday.

John Bonacic, a Republican Senator and chair of the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering , introduced the proposal which would legalise cash and tournament poker played between those living in the state.

If the bill were to pass, ten online poker licences would be issued for ten years each.

New York State's adult population could then be playing online poker within a year.

The state would get $10m dollars for each licence plus 15% of the gaming revenue.

John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Player's Alliance, told Online Poker Report that this has been coming.

"Last year I met with legislative leaders in New York and they expressed a deep interest in regulating online poker," he said. “The state leaders are looking around and they do not want to be left behind."

Bonacic's bill argues that poker is a game of skill and not of chance and therefore does not constitute gambling, as defined by New York State law.

To become law, the bill must be approved by the full New York Senate and then by the state's governor, the Democrat Andrew Cuomo.

Although Governor Cuomo is a Democrat and Bonacic is a Republican, many analysts predict that Cuomo will approve the law if it comes to him as he has previously argued in favour of four new casinos being opened in the state.

Anyone involved in taking bets in the USA after 2006 will be disqualified from receiving a licence under the bill's 'bad actor' clause.

Joe Lo

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