US states are incorporating their own regulated online gambling laws that supersede the federal Wire Act against online gambling, with state jurisdictions taking a liberal approach to online gambling that mirrors Canada. Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware led the way in the US, with the former two states forming an interstate online poker “compact” and the latter joining later this summer.
Several other states like Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and the much coveted California are considering their own online poker laws that would mirror the system in Nevada. But it is the state of New York gathering the most attention from operators, lawmakers, and poker fanatics alike.
Unlike other online poker bills in Nevada and elsewhere, the New York legislation seeks to legalize only specific games of skill like Texas Hold’em or Omaha. A bill is before the New York Senate, Bill S6913 that would amend existing gambling laws by recognizing poker as a game of skill instead of a game of chance.
If the law is passed, New York could join other states in an interstate online poker compact that would allow registered poker players in New York to play against players in other legalized states. Online poker operators will need to apply for gambling licenses at a cost of $10 million, and also pay an online poker tax worth 15 percent.
The launch of online poker in Nevada and New Jersey was successful for those states, which many pundits believe is due to the established offline casino presence in both regions. New York has traditionally been without large scale casinos, but the state passed a motion last year that could see up to 7 privatized casinos constructed in the next few years – which could make for a smooth online poker launch in the state.