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NY Senate Approves Online Poker Bill; California Vote Coming
Five years after Black Friday, is the tide finally shifting back in favor of online poker in the United States?
With online poker legalized in just three states the process has been long and arduous but a vote in the New York Senate yesterday may indicate the shift is on the way.
By a vote of 53-5, the NY State Senate passed a bill that will allow the state's 11 racetracks to apply for licenses to provide online poker.
Licenses would cost $10 million and last for 10 years. The $10m would be applied to a 15% state tax.
While the bill still needs to be approved by the State Assembly, the vote yesterday was applauded by casino interests including MGM General Counsel John McManus:
“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.
“We applaud the Senate for passing this sensible legislation that will help protect New Yorkers who have for years played online poker on unprotected, off-shore poker websites that today operate with no regulation, fraud controls, or age restrictions.
"This bill will open opportunities for all providers of online poker to deliver a safe, regulated alternative.”
Not the Only Bill on the Table
While the vote is promising for online poker advocates in NY it's not a sure thing by any means.
Besides having to be passed by the state Assembly, an identical bill from Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow is also being considered and he has expressed recently he feels the online poker issue is "dead."
Meanwhile, in California, Bill AB 2863 is expected to come to a vote this morning in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
AB 2863 was approved over a month ago by the Governmental Organization Committee and has since been amended to include more specific language regarding bad actors and more.
It is expected to pass the vote this morning but still will face several hurdles before reaching any kind of implementation stage, including the current lack of cooperation among several Native tribe coalitions.
After 5 years, however, it seems online poker is at least moving forward in several key US states, which will be essential cogs in pushing forward a viable, interstate compact to return nationwide player pools. More on yesterday's NY vote on Syracuse.com here.
Make your voice heard and help support the cause by tweeting your State representatives with the hashtag #fight4poker. More on what else you can do here.