New York Bill Would Authorize Online Poker

Online poker is on the radar in New York. On May 7, New York Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. introduced a significant piece of legislation, SB9226, which could transform the landscape of online gaming within the state.

A WSOP online Texas Hold'em table. (Source: World Series of Poker)

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Addabbo has a long history of lobbying for online gambling and betting in New York. However, he has repeatedly run into insurmountable obstacles. After previous attempts to pass more comprehensive iGaming bills failed to garner sufficient support, Senate Bill 9226 takes a more focused approach. It hopes to carve out a niche for online poker without the inclusion of other forms of gaming.

The bill proposes the issuance of 10 operator licenses and sets a 15% tax rate on online poker revenues, a figure significantly below that of the rates proposed for other forms of iGaming. By defining poker as a game of skill rather than chance, SB9226 seeks to amend the racing, pari-mutuel, wagering, and breeding law, potentially opening the door for a new era of digital gaming in New York.

SB9226 is similar to a measure introduced by Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow. While Addabbo's measure is under consideration in the Senate Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee, Pretlow's proposal is with the Assembly's Standing Committee on Racing and Wagering. However, neither bill has been added to their respective agendas.

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Michigan, Pennsylvania Ready to Deal

Michigan's recent move to join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) marks a pivotal development for online poker enthusiasts in the state. By becoming a member of MSIGA, Michigan has opened the door for its players to compete against those in Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey, significantly expanding the player pool and potential winnings. Now, the World Series of Poker is expected to launch shared player liquidity in the state, joining with Nevada and New Jersey.

This expansion is not only expected to enhance the gaming experience for players but also to generate increased tax revenue, with a portion earmarked for supporting K-12 education in Michigan. The agreement, which was signed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board Executive Director Henry Williams, underscores the state's commitment to evolving its gaming offerings in a responsible and strategic manner.

Pennsylvania is also exploring the possibility of joining MSIGA, a move that would further consolidate the online poker market in the US. Representative George Dunbar has introduced House Bill 2078, legislation that would enable Pennsylvania's entry into the agreement, potentially allowing players to compete with peers across five other states.

This expansion could revitalize the state's online poker scene, which has been lagging behind its robust sports betting and casino sectors. The introduction of House Bill 2078 signals Pennsylvania's intent to create a more vibrant and competitive online poker environment, reflecting the growing trend of states seeking to capitalize on the popularity of internet gaming.


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