For the second straight year, New York State Senator John J. Bonacic (R-Mt. Hope) has introduced a bill that would legalize online poker in the state. Bill S 5302 closely resembles the bill (S 6913) that Bonacic introduced in 2014, and the companion bill (A 9509) that was introduced in the State Assembly by J. Gary Pretlow (D-Mt. Vernon).
As first reported by Online Poker Report’s Chris Grove, the one glaring difference from last year is the omission of “bad actor” language in the latest version.
Under the newly proposed law, the New York State Gaming Commission would determine the suitability for those seeking a license as an online poker operator or significant vendor.
Similar to last year, Bonacic’s bill has been referred to the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee for which he is the chairman; however, in spite of his influence over the committee, last year’s bill was never brought to a vote.
Bonacic’s bill once again would allow New York to combine player pools with other states provided their suitability requirements are consistent with those in New York.
The issue of consumer protection is prominent throughout the bill. Not only does the proposed legislation call for safeguards regarding problem gambling, it also seeks to provide protection from collusion, poker bots and other forms of cheating. Even the issue of protecting players’ funds from corporate insolvency is addressed.
Up to 10 licenses can be issued with a 10 year duration and a $10 million one-time licensing fee. A tax rate of 15% on gross gaming revenues would be assessed.
If the bill were to become law, the New York State Gaming Commission would be required to issue interactive gaming regulations within 180 days. An additional 180 days would be allowed for the commission to issue its first licenses.