New York senator puts forward online poker bill

New York senator puts forward online poker bill

New York isn’t just getting ready for sports betting, it’s considering bringing in legal online poker as well. State Senator Joseph Addabbo has sponsored a bill that would provide as many as 11 licenses to online operators, but restricting availability to already licensed tribal gaming and video lottery gaming facilities.

Addabbo, born and raised in Ozone Park in Queens, N.Y., and now serving as state senator for that area, was recently appointed the chair of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering committee.

His bill calls for an up-front $10 million fee that would provide a 10-year license, with 15% tax paid on gross gaming revenue (GGR). There would be no limit to the number of skins each licensee could then deploy, so long as all were reviewed and approved by the New York State Gaming Commission.

The legislation also addresses operators who continued to serve New York despite the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), and it does not treat them lightly. Not only are those operators banned from applying for a license, but it states that any operator who buys out one that did, or employs individuals who worked for them will also be denied a license.

As harsh as that restriction is, don’t count on this bill being passed just yet. Last month, New York Assemblyman Gary Pretlow told Online Poker Report in an interview: “I would give up online poker for sports betting. If I had to make a choice, I would choose this over online poker just because the revenue stream is so much better doing this than online poker.”

Although it isn’t necessarily a choice between sports or poker, the assemblyman’s comments make it clear that New York might not be ready for both.

Good thing then that Addabbo has also filed a bill to address sports wagering revenue, which has spurred the Oneida Indian Nation to get ready for that action in the near future.