While the recent Senate vote to legalize online Poker in New York gave hope to prospective online gambling operators in the State, the failure of the Bill to reach the Assembly before its annual shut down means that the operation of online Poker sites will remain illegal in New York for the remainder of 2016. This however, is not the end of the road for those who were hoping to benefit from offering online Poker games in this State. Once the Assembly reconvenes, there’s hope that New York will join Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey as a hub for online Poker fans and operators.
What exactly would the new Bill bring to the table?
The online Poker Bill has several overarching aims – to regulate online Poker playing in order to protect gamblers, to reclassify online Poker as a game of skill rather than a game of chance, and to enable the state to generate revenue from this lucrative industry. While the need for online Poker parlors that are safe, legal and regulated cannot be denied, players can already access these by playing at one of the many casinos available online. Thus, the real impact of the failure of the online Poker Bill to reach the Assembly will not be felt by players as such, but rather in state coffers and the pockets of local casino operators.
“Creating a safe, regulated option for online poker players in New York would generate millions in new tax revenue that could be used for education and other critical investments” – MGM General Counsel John McManus
A key point of the new legislation is that 15% of gross revenue from legal online Poker would go towards state in the form of tax. This was a major selling point of the online Poker Bill, and one that New York State could certainly benefit greatly from. A further financial gain comes from the proposed $10 million licensing fee that new casinos would need to cough up in order to be legally recognized. As it currently stands, New York gamblers spend $1 billion each year at casinos out of state – that’s a whole lot of cash flowing into someone else’s pocket! And, given the global impact of the mobile revolution and the concomitant rise in mobile gambling, New York should be champing at the bit to take advantage of these technological developments. Economists predict that the Empire State could stand to gain an additional $120 million in just 12 months with the legalization and taxation of online Poker. These millions could be pumped back into education or other necessary services, thus contributing to the upliftment of the State and a better quality of life for its citizens.
What does the failure of the Bill mean for players?
The recent move to legalize online Poker in New York once again brought up a number of questions around the legality of online Poker, and online gambling in general. The failure to legalize Poker has led some to believe that online gambling is illegal in New York, but this is not the case at all. Even though New Yorkers may not be able to play online Poker at a casino based within the State, online gambling itself is legal, albeit with certain caveats in place.
Essentially, as long as you stick to offshore casinos, and those based in states where online gambling is legal, you are legally completely in the clear. However, it’s important to keep in mind that until online Poker becomes legal in New York State, every dollar you spend playing Poker online is a dollar that could’ve been spent bettering your State. Sure, you could casually drop $1000 on one of the latest blockbuster online slots, but wouldn’t it be nicer knowing that your money would eventually buy a new computer for your local school?
Ultimately, while choosing to wait for the New York State legislature to open the doors to digital real money gambling can be a real test of patience, experts are hopeful that the wait will soon come to an end. The numbers certainly do add up, and with several brick and mortar casinos being slated for development across the State, you can bet that online casinos won’t be far behind.
Image credit: CC by dupo-x-y