New York Online Poker Law
New York’s Senate takes up online poker in early 2014. Barriers to online poker in New York fell in 2013, starting with the proposed 2013-2014 budget, which included language that defined the Senate’s stance toward online poker: “The Senate supports authorizing and regulating Internet gaming for games of skill, including poker, to reflect recent changes in the classification of these games.”
The “reflect recent changes in the classification of these games” part comes from a ruling by a federal judge that overturned a conviction for a man who was running a for-profit poker game in New York. The judge overturned the conviction in early 2013 because he said poker is a game of skill (the conviction was eventually re-imposed later in the year, but the “skill” ruling seemed to stick, at least socially).
Although not a state ruling, New York’s Assembly seems to be ready to accept that poker is a game of skill and should not be lumped into the category of casino games so quickly. The fight to get politicians to acknowledge that poker is a game of skill appears to have been won in New York.
The authors of the budget estimate that about $100 million would’ve been generated for New York State in the first year. In fact, the authors already spent the money. Not included in the budget bill were rules and regulations that would pertain to online poker implementation, leaving potential online poker operators in the dark regarding such things as who will be able to get online poker licenses, what fees are involved, tax rates, etc.
With neighbor New Jersey going live with online gambling, lawmakers in New York seem hell-bent on not getting too far behind in this new United States industry. Unlike other states that are not considering online poker as a stand-alone option, to the delight of online poker players, New York will.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave every indication that he would sign the budget bill with the online poker language included. Although the budget that was sent to his desk for signature did not include this language, online poker legalization will be front and center in New York in the early part of 2014. Count on it.
When Will I Get to Play Online Poker in New York?
Tech-savvy players may have already found a way around New Jersey’s blocking restrictions which are supposed to keep play within its borders, but it’s still illegal. Legislators will certainly deal with an online poker law in early 2014. If all goes to perfection, online poker players might be able to play online poker from their homes in New York State by the end of 2014. But look to early 2015 for a date with online poker implementation in New York State.