Online poker bill introduced in US Senate

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New York Senator Joseph Addabbo has introduced a bill in the senate to legalise online poker in the state.

The state recently set up the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, which has filed Senate Bill 18 with the aim of allowing citizens aged 21 and above to play poker online.

The bill proposes to issue up to 11 online poker licences, with only licensed video lottery gaming facilities and Class III (tribal) gaming licensees eligible.

Each licensee would have to pay an up-front fee $10m for a 10-year licence, as well as paying a 15 per cent tax on gross gaming revenue.

Despite the cap on the number of available licences, each entity would be permitted to operate an unlimited number of skins under its licence, provided each partner is approved by the New York State Gaming Commission.

However, the legislation also contains a so-called bad actor clause, which blocks companies that offered online gaming in the US after 31 December 2006—when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) was enacted— from participating in the market.

It goes further than simply looking to block sites involved, specifying that a company that has acquired a business active in the US after that date, or that employs an individual that worked for any such site, will also be ineligible.

S00018 has been referred to the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee for further scrutiny.