nline Poker Bill S 5302 would amend constitution to permit certain interactive poker games in the state.
The Committee will meet to discuss the viability of online poker regulation in the state although, the bill has so far failed to gain any momentum in the legislature this year. Bonancic told Gambling Compliance that September’s meeting would be an information gathering exercise to “look seriously” at passing online poker legislation in 2016.
Bonacic has invited stakeholders from New York’s gaming industry, as well as executives from Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts, to form the discussion about a regulated online gaming market. Online poker already has a strong support base in New York legislature, but the issue was overlooked by the state’s bricks-and-mortar casino expansion.
“I’m bringing in Caesars and MGM plus all of my casino, racinos and OTBs,” commented Bonancic. “We are going to have a discussion on the pros and cons of moving the legislation,” he said.
Bill S 5302 is the senator’s second attempt to regulate online poker in two years with his 2014 bill failing to move beyond the committee. The main difference of the new bill is that it doesn’t contain the so-called “bad actor” clause that would have automatically barred certain third-party software providers, such as PokerStars, over the black Friday scandal.
A study commissioned last year by MGM Resorts suggested that New York residents could be spending up to $110m a year on the offshore poker market. It was projected that a regulated online poker market would generate enough revenue to supplement the Empire State’s tax coffers with an additional $50-$80m.
Next month’s hearing looks to set the stage for more serious talks early next year with the aim to regulate online poker sometime in 2016. However, while these efforts go ahead, delays will be caused due to the legislature focusing its efforts on getting the new bricks-and-mortal casinos up and running in Upstate New York, which could take more than a year.