Play online poker in New York
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Online poker status in New York
Another year, another legislative session passed without online poker. New York legislators simply could not make things happen in the 2019 session for interactive gaming.
Even though state Sen. Joe Addabbo and Rep. Gary Pretlow introduced companion bills to legalize online poker, neither made it out of committee. Frankly, New York is struggling to pass laws for mobile sports betting, which lawmakers consider an easier sell than poker.
So, unfortunately, New York must wait until 2020. At least. New York citizens will have to become more active if they want online poker in their state.
New York legislative history
New York has long been home to several tribal casinos and racinos. However, in 2013, voters passed a measure to allow up to seven commercial casinos in the state.
So far, four commercial casinos have appeared in New York. They are:
- Del Lago Resort & Casino, Waterloo
- Rivers Casino & Resort, Schenectady
- Resorts World Catskills, Monticello
- Tioga Downs Casino, Nichols
Since then, legislators have been trying since 2014 to legalize online poker. Bills by Sen. John Bonacic and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow have had varying levels of success in making their way through the legislative bodies, but ultimately, all have died.
The notable parts of the bills have been their proposed regulations. They have made several recommendations, such as:
- Up to 10 licensees may operate online poker sites
- The licensing fee is $10 million
- Revenue would be taxed at 15 percent
- New York could enter into shared liquidity agreements with other states
New York online poker FAQ
Why is New York considering legalizing online poker?
Millions of New Yorkers play on unregulated online poker sites that operate without basic consumer protections. Legalization of the game will provide a safe environment for players while generating significant revenue for state coffers.
Due to this, the bills have gained widespread support from powerful casino lobbyists and a bevy of legislators.
When can players expect a bill to pass?
2020, at the earliest. Because New York is still working to get its act together on sports betting, legislators will likely feel more pressure to authorize that type of gambling first.
The Meadowlands Racetrack opened its sportsbook on July 14, 2018. The track’s proximity to New York City — 6 miles — means that legislators will have to watch New York dollars cross into New Jersey for several months.
Online poker’s best hope would be to piggyback itself onto a sports betting bill. However, it is unknown if such an amendment would be acceptable to pass.
However, New York’s land-based casinos have fallen short of revenue projections so far. It is possible that legislators could see online poker as a way to prop up those bottom lines.
Would New York offer online casino games?
Unlikely. Legislators have presented online poker bills in the last five years, and none of them have mentioned legalizing online casino games.
Would New York enter into to pooling agreements with other states?
Likely. The proposed laws in the past have specifically granted that right to New York’s government once online poker itself was up and running.
However, the US Justice Department has thrown the entire notion of interstate pooling into question with its January 2019 Wire Act opinion. Although the government agency is fighting litigation over the decision and has delayed any enforcement until at least 2020, there is still a cloud over any type of expansion plans for interstate poker.
Should New York legalize online poker, how long will it take for sites to get up and running?
Up to a year. Under the most recent bill, the state would not grant licenses for 180 days after the passage of regulations. The operators’ readiness level will depend on how long an approval process would take after those 180 days.
Would out-of-state players be able to wager on New York online poker sites?
Possibly. In previously proposed bills, geolocation enforcement fell under the purview of the New York State Gaming Commission. However, players would not need a New York address to play on a state-regulated online poker site.
Can New Yorkers make any kinds of online wagers?
Sort of. The legislature passed a bill to allow daily fantasy sports play in 2016.
But, that law has experienced some legal setbacks. So, it’s unknown what the long-term outlook for DFS in New York is.