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New York Online Poker Bill Clears Committee Vote Legislation Moving Quickly Through Senate

Published: Feb 16, 2017

A bill in the state of New York to legalize and regulate internet poker sites cleared a key hurdle Wednesday.

The legislation, sponsored by State Sen. John Bonacic, cleared the Senate Gaming Committee by a 11-0 vote. It now moves to the Finance Committee for a vote.

Bonacic's proposal went all the way through the Senate last year, advancing to the Assembly by a 53-5 vote. However, it didn't get taken up by Assembly lawmakers. The bill would need the governor's signature if it passes both chambers.

Last year, New York was taking a hard look at daily fantasy sports sites, and Bonacic said at that time that it was basically a toss up which activity the state would move to regulate first. DFS is now under the oversight of New York officials, which bodes well for online poker.

Another key to online poker's increased odds this year is that New York has seen three of its four new Las Vegas-style casinos open in recent months, which will satisfy those in the state's government who wanted to wait on internet gaming before the new brick-and-mortars are open.

The final of the four commercial casinos will open in early 2018.

Under the bill, poker would be classified as a game of skill. New York is only looking at internet poker and not the other online games like are available in neighboring New Jersey.

New York has an estimated year-one online poker market of $120 million. New Jersey's internet poker market was $26.5 million in 2016. The rest of the web games there generated nearly $175 million.

Pennsylvania is also close to legalizing and regulating online casinos, but it would go with a wide array of games and has an internet gambling market estimated to be worth $300 million.

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