Many of our readers are aware that several states, including Illinois, Iowa, California and Texas,have previously introduced legislation to legalize some form of Internet gambling within their respective states. New York also considered legalizing Internet poker within its borders last year, but the bill failed to gain traction in the State Legislature. Despite the apparent setback, the issue of Internet poker legalization within the borders of New York is far from dead.
New Internet Poker Bill Introduced in New York
Late last month, New York Senator John Bonacic (R – Mt. Hope) introduced an updated Internet poker bill that will first be considered by the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, before facing a full Senate vote. The new Internet poker bill explicitly defines Internet poker as a “game of skill,” rather than a game of chance. As you may recall, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) only applies to games of chance and the Supreme Court of the United States has yet to determine whether Internet poker is legally a game of chance.
The New York Internet poker bill will require operators to obtain an initial license (at the cost of $10 million) to conduct operations within the State and subject the operators to an additional 15% yearly revenue tax. Any operator that unlawfully accepted wagers from United States players after the enactment of UIGEA in 2006 will automatically be ineligible for an Internet poker license. Like Nevada and Delaware, the New York bill includes a provision to create joint player pools with residents of other states.
New Casino Licenses for New York
In addition to the newly introduced Internet poker bill, New York State is also seeking to license four (4) new brick and mortar casinos within the State. The casino license fee will range between $20 million and $70 million, depending on location. The State has already received three (3) applications for licensure.
For all of our readers that are interested in submitting a casino license application, please note that the application must be submitted before June 30, 2014. The New York Gaming Facility Location Board is also holding a conference at the end of this month that all applicants must attend.
The development and progression of New York’s stance on Internet poker is a significant topic for all gaming attorneys and those interested in online poker and gambling in general.