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New York Pushing for Online Poker in 2015

While the legislatures in California and Pennsylvania will seriously consider regulating online poker in 2015, a push is on to add New York to that list.

“Let NY Play” is the slogan behind the support and includes an online petition to sign for those in favor of legalized online poker in the Empire State. Part of the rallying cry behind the push is the fact that neighbors in New Jersey have been playing Internet poker legally since late 2013.

The campaign reportedly originated from the brain trust at MGM Resorts, who commissioned studies to determine how much revenue can likely be obtained for the state by approving ipoker legislation. Estimates indicate that New Yorkers currently wager $110 million on poker sites that are not regulated, the New York Times reported.

Additional estimates derived from the research show that New York can gain anywhere from $50 million to $80 million annually. License fees placed on the sites wishing to do business in New York can add another $80 million or so.

It needs to be mentioned that estimates from studies done in New Jersey before the Garden State legalized online poker and gambling have not been reached. However, New York has more than twice as many residents as New Jersey, a population that is nearing 20 million, while New Jersey census figures reveal about 9 million.

Gambling expansion on the way

Of course, 2014 saw two online poker bills introduced in New York. Sen. John Bonacic and Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow both volleyed proposals. But their aggressiveness in promoting their respective legislation was tempered by the fact that the state had not yet named the winning bidders of a handful of casinos to be built throughout the state.

Those winning bids were named for upstate New York one week ago, which means that the state’s land-based gambling expansion plans can begin to seriously consider adding the Internet as well. The three states that have regulated online poker and gambling thus far have tied in online gaming licenses to bricks and mortar gaming establishments, and New York will likely follow that same pattern.

20 states by 2020

An extensive study released earlier this year by Morgan Stanley projected that 20 states would be operating regulated online gambling regimes by 2020. Researchers pegged New York to be one of those states and affixed a date of 2016 for that to happen. But the actual igaming launch would not take place in the Empire State until 2017.

Of course, that is only a projection and no one has a crystal ball that will determine the future. It’s still possible (yet unlikely) that federal lawmakers will one day step up and pass a bill that would allow all 50 states to opt in to an online poker regulation scheme.

However, those optimists that like to believe in research done by reputable sources such as Morgan Stanley may take note that New York may actually beat the projection by one year or so. It is certainly not inconceivable that New York approve ipoker regulation in 2015 and launch the following year.

In any event, the “Let NY Play” push for legislation is certainly a step in the right direction. And coupled with the fact that three casinos will be constructed in the near future and operating in 18 months or so, New York has now joined California and Pennsylvania as a legitimate contender to be next to regulate online poker.



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Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.