A new bill that would regulate online poker has been introduced in the New York Senate, as first reported by Online Poker Report. The bill is known as S 6913 and seeks to amend existing state gaming laws. It was introduced by State Sen. John Bonacic. It now heads to the Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering.
The bill would legalize and regulate online poker games. Games banked by the house would not qualify. The bill specifically mentions Texas Hold’em and Omaha, however, it allows for “any other poker game that the commission determines is the material equivalent of either of those, whether in a cash game or tournament”. This could be enough to permit Seven Card Stud and other variations.
Bad Actor Clause Included
Unregulated sites with ties to the U.S. market after December 31, 2006, would be excluded from the licensing process. This includes trade names, trademarks, logos, player databases and software.
The bill would require operators to pay a $10 million fee for a license that would be valid for 10 years. The tax rate would be 15 percent. Promotional game credits, including bonuses and VIP programs, would not be taxed.
Significant Vendor Licensing
Operators would not be the only companies that would require licensing. Any company that receives a percentage of interactive gaming revenue must receive a vendor’s license. This might include software providers and marketing affiliates. It does not include payment processors.
The bill would go into effect immediately after being signed by the governor. Regulators would have 180 days to draft rules. That would be followed by a licensing process of at least 180 days. All sites would launch at the same time. This is required to “prevent early licensees from gaining an unfair competitive advantage”.
Door Open for Interstate Compacts
The bill expressly permits compacts with other states, assuming other these participants meet New York’s suitability requirements.
Unlicensed Sites Required to Pay Taxes
Unlicensed operators that still offer online poker to New York players would be required to pay a 15 percent tax on revenue generated. This is the identical tax burden that would apply to regulated sites. Payment of this tax does not give a company immunity from prosecution of the unlicensed gaming operations.
The full text of the bill may be found here.