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Last Tuesday, during a meeting of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee in New York, the bill S.5032 has passed. This bill was proposed by State Senator John Bonacic and aims to legalize online poker in the state of New York.

This is a small victory, but it is the first step. The poker community and Bonacic, chairman of the Racing, Gaming and Wagering committee must be satisfied. The bill passed unanimously, with a favourable 9-0.

Bonacic released the following statement:

“S.5302-B took a necessary step forward today with its vote out of the Racing Committee.  The Bill now goes to the Finance Committee and I anticipate having ongoing discussions with              my colleagues in both Houses regarding this bill as session moves forward” 

Even though the outcome of the hearing last Tuesday was positive, there is still a long way to go. Before online poker sites can operate legally in New York, there are still many hurdles to pass.

The online poker bill will be discussed by the Senate Finance Committee next. The date is yet to be set.

The Bill

The bill S.5302-B seeks to legalize Texas Hold’em and Omaha Hold’em games, which are considered games of skill. If this bill passes, online poker sites will be able to apply for a license at the New York Gaming Commission.

In order to be regulated in the state of New York, each gaming operator will have to pay a $10 million licensing fee and this license would be valid for 10 years. In addition, this license will only be granted to 10 gaming operators.

The aim of the bill is for the state of New York to earn more revenue. The licensing fee alone would generate a total of $100 million, if New York grants ten licenses, the full allotment. In addition, the state would also earn revenue from the 15% gross revenue sales tax licensed gaming operators would have to pay.

Poker Players Alliance

The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) released a press statement to thank Bonacic and the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee.

“The PPA thanks Chairman John Bonacic and the Committee for acting quickly to pass iPoker legislation through the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering. If passed       into law, the bill would provide New Yorkers who play poker online with a safe and   regulated environment, while bringing in revenue for the state”

The PPA is an organization that advocate for the rights of poker players in the US. Besides New York, the PPA focus also in the state of California, a state considered a “big fish” due to its large population.

A domino effect could occur in the US, should a big state such as New York or California legalize online poker. Last Tuesday’s positive outcome is definitely a step in the right direction.