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Online Poker Legislation Introduced in New York

February 4, 2019

New York is set to take up the discussion of legalized online poker in 2019. A recent bill introduced by Senator Joseph Addabbo calls for the licensing of online poker. This would make playing poker online for real money legal to all residents of New York that are 21 years of age or older. 

Senate Bill 18 was drafted by Addabbo and brought before the state legislature in January. Addabbo is also the chairman of the Senate's gaming committee. The bill would limit the operation of online poker websites to tribal casinos and other gaming companies that already have an existing facility in the state. Operators would be required to put up a $10 million fee in order to obtain the online poker license. 

The move is the first serious effort to legalize online poker in New York since the US Department of Justice moved to shut down all US online poker operations on April 15, 2011. That date became known as Black Friday, and it resulted in the US closure of PokerStars and other online poker sites. Player funds were confiscated, and some players have yet to be reimbursed. 

Online poker has the potential to bring massive revenue to New York. The revenues that are earned from online poker can be earmarked for programs in the state. Many states have sought to resolve their budget crises through the legalization of online gambling. 

The measure is expected to receive bipartisan support in the New York Senate. It is possible that the passage of the bill could see the first online poker venues appear later in 2019. Those who are residents of New York with a valid ID would be allowed to play poker online if they are over the age of 21. 

The bill limits the number of licenses that will be issued to 11. It is expected that the actual number of providers that initially apply for a license could be lower than that number.


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