It’s Up To You New York (Regulators): New Online Poker Bill Drops Bad Actor Clause

John Mehaffey May 19, 2015
NY online poker bill

A new online poker bill in New York was introduced last week. The bill is S5302. Its sponsor is State Senator John Bonacic (R-42).

The full text of the bill may be found here.

Online poker only; no casino

The New York interactive gaming bill would only legalize and regulate online poker. Its language would only allow Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and other games traditionally played as poker between players where the house has no interest in the outcome.

Online poker sites would generate revenue from raking cash games and charging tournament entry fees. Casino games would not be allowed under S5302.

Bad actor language is out of there

As Online Poker Report notes, S5302 is comparable to a bill introduced by Bonacic in 2014. One noticeable difference is that there is no bad actor clause. Sites that accepted action from U.S. players without proper licensing after December 31, 2006 are excluded under typical bad actor clauses.

These are often used in an attempt to exclude PokerStars. S5302 reversed policy on that issue.

Casinos spreading online poker would be required to pay a $10 million licensing fee. The tax rate would be 15 percent. The number of licensees would be capped at 10. The bill would require unlicensed sites to pay the same fees as licensed operators. This would not immune illegal operators from prosecution.

Last year’s online poker bill failed to make it out of committee. There is little support in New York to legalize and regulate online poker in the state at this time. Commercial casinos are still a few years away in New York, reducing the possible lobbying effort as potential partnerships are not set.

It is still important that online poker is up for discussion in the New York Legislature, even if its odds of passing this year are slim.

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