Online poker bill introduced in New York Senate

New York
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A bill has been introduced in the New York State Senate that would legalise online poker in the Empire State.

Sponsored by Senator Joseph Addabbo, SB9226 proposes “to authorise the New York State Gaming Commission to license certain entities to offer for play to the public certain variants of internet poker which requires a significant degree of skill, specifically ‘Omaha Hold’em’ and ‘Texas Hold’em.’”

Currently in the Senate Racing, Gaming And Wagering Committee, the bill appears to be a follow-up to Addabbo’s online casino bill – S8185A – which was filed earlier this year in January, but its potential tax revenue was not included in Gov. Kathy Hochul’s budget.

SB9226 would authorise up to ten licences to operate online poker with a 15 per cent tax rate on their gross revenue, to be paid to the state commercial gaming fund. 

The licence fee would be $10m and valid for 10 years, with the fee applied as an offset against taxes paid over the first 60 months of operation.

The bill also defines poker as a game of skill, not chance, hence amending the racing, pari-mutuel wagering and breeding law.

Regarding justification, Addabbo stated that the legalisation of online poker would provide the numerous New York residents who already play games of chance with illegal, unregulated and unsafe gaming operators with a place to play where they are protected and offered problem gambling assistance.

In addition, the Senator said online poker would create additional revenue for the state from taxes and licensing fees.

Addabbo also noted that the bill would have a positive fiscal impact, generating up to $100m from licensing fees and $2m to $5m in tax revenue annually.

Should the bill progress through the Senate, it will still need Hochul’s signature before passing it into law.