Another Online Poker Bill Introduced in New York

New York SealA near identical bill to the legislation introduced in the state senate by Senator John Bonacic (S 6913) in late March has been introduced by longtime democrat assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow, who represents New York’s 89th District.

The bill

Pretlow’s bill (A09509) seeks to amend the current laws governing racing and pari-mutuel wagers in the state by adding online poker games to the list of legal gambling options – Texas Holdem and Omaha were mentioned specifically.

As mentioned above, Pretlow’s assembly bill is carbon copy of the bill currently sitting in the state senate, calling for the same 15% tax rate on licensed operators and a 10-year, $10 million licensing fee. Similarly, A09509 also calls for a “bad actor” clause, barring companies that offered real-money online poker games to New York residents after December 31, 2006 from licensure:

“Those persons that provided goods or services related to internet gambling involving New York citizens prior to the enactment of that statute [UIGEA]- including, at the time, poker, which was until the adoption of this act unlawful – but exited in an expeditious fashion after its enactment should be regarded differently from those that continued to flout U.S. federal and New York law thereafter for purposes of suitability for licensing under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.”

Will it pass?

Despite introducing an online poker bill, Senator Bonacic later told The Washington Times he doesn’t intend to “push it” this year but, “New York needs to begin considering how to effectively regulate the burgeoning industry.”

Bonacic shares the views of many of his peers, who would like to see the brick & mortar expansion that is already underway up-and-running before the conversation turns to online expansion.

That being said, Bonacic would also like to get as much of the leg work done now, so if and when New York lawmakers turn their eyes to online poker/gambling they won’t be starting from square one.

With Pretlow’s Assembly bill mirroring Bonacic’s it’s likely meant to kick-start similar conversations in the lower chamber of the legislature.

Followers of the iGaming industry see New York as an extreme long shot in 2014, but the companion bills now sitting in the New York Assembly and State Senate could lead to productive hearings and discussion, similar to those we have seen in Massachusetts, California, and most recently in Pennsylvania.


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