In a renewed attempt to tackle the issue of online poker, Assemblyman Gary Pretlow has reintroduced the bill AB9049 to New York state’s legislature. The bill seeks to declare poker as a game of skill rather than luck thereby legalizing online poker.
Pretlow has been pushing for online poker be viewed as game of skill since 2013 which would have significant tax implications and help the state to generate additional revenues.
The law proposes to charge $2million as a one-time licence fee and tax gross revenues at 15 percent. The bill also deals with related laws for parimutuel wagering, current racing and breeding laws. This is the third year that Pretlow has introduced the bill into the state legislature.
Pretlow states in the proposal that by enforcing the bill the state will be able to control the industry better, issuing licenses to only those operators who meet standards set by the state and offer limited poker games that require skill, instead of the current situation where New Yorkers play games of chance on illegal and unsafe gaming websites.
In a statement, Gary Pretlow, State Assemblyman said,
As nearby states such as New Jersey and Delaware have adopted well-regulated systems, they’ve seen a corresponding increase in tax revenue. The security technology they have employed has not only kept gaming safe within their borders, it has created a legal system where law enforcement can crack down on the fraud and any other illegal activity that currently runs rampant in the robust online black market.
Industry observers however say that the possibility of the bill getting through the Assembly is very slim. The ongoing legal battle with New York legislators and the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) industry is expected to last all of this year and is a clear roadblock for the online poker industry to be legalized in New York during 2015.
New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has come down hard on DFS industry and has believes that some of the biggest websites like DraftKings and FanDuel who offer sports betting websites in New York law is illegal. He maintains that they cause
the same kinds of social and economic harms as other forms of illegal gambling.
Schneiderman wants to close down the sites and fine them $5000 per transaction for each violation which could add up to a total fine of $3 billion.
Given the similarity between DFS and online poker, Pretlow’s bill is thus certain to face resistance and unlikely to progress very far. The Racing and Wagering Committee will discuss the legislation at a future hearing.