Monday March 31,2014 : INTRASTATE ONLINE POKER LEGALISATION BILL LAUNCHED IN NEW YORK
Some may be trying for a federal ban, but this senator is hopeful for a more sensible approach in his state.
With launch of the Graham-Chaffetz banning bills in Congress still creating industry ripples this week, a New York lawmaker has taken the initiative and launched an intrastate online poker legalization bill in the state Senate.
The man behind SB 6913 is Republican Party state Senator John Bonacic, who is clearly not interested in being on Sheldon Adelson's anti-online gambling pay-roll.
The bill, which makes provision for both cash and tournament action, is currently at committee stage before the Senate's Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, which Bonacic chairs.
Highlights of the proposal as it presently stands include:
* There's a "bad actor" clause disqualifying any operator who ‘illegally' delivered gambling services in the USA after the imposition of the UIGEA.
* The bill allows for the state to negotiate compacts with other like-minded states that have passed online poker laws.
* The proposal asserts that poker is a game of skill – an important distinction in defining criminality in gambling.
* A licensing fee of $10 million is suggested, along with a tax rate of 15 percent of GGR; in return for that just 10 operators will get a licence which has a 10-year duration.
* Regulators have six months to present regulations once/if the bill passes into state law, and licenses must be issued within six months thereafter.
* Importantly, there is a requirement that player funds be kept in segregated accounts.
* The usual provisions are made to ensure that players are within the state borders, and for the exclusion of bots, under aged and problem gamblers, along with minimum standards for the protection of privacy and the offering of fair games.
* Comprehensive requirements are listed for probity checks on the senior management and shareholders of aspirant operators.
* Specifically makes the offering of unlicensed [in New York] online gambling services a criminal offence, although this does not seem to go as far as making individual players criminals, as has been the case in the state of Washington.
Any unlicensed operator caught offering services within the state will also apparently be held liable for state taxes.
Full details on the new bill can be read here: http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=printbill&bn=S6913&term=2013