Online Poker Bill Introduced In New York

New York will take another stab at legalizing online poker after years of failed efforts.

Assemblyman James Gary Pretlow, a Democrat, filed legislation for the 2023 session that, if enacted, would bring regulated online poker to the Empire State.

“Poker in many instances has been defined as a game of skill and a New York federal court in U.S. v. DiCristina assessed that under federal law poker was predominantly a game of skill,” the bill reads.

“New York courts have interpreted New York law to apply a more rigorous test in identifying a “contest of chance” than is applied by most states in this nation, and the courts have found that where a contest pits the skill levels of the players against each other, those games are games of skill and not games of chance. Furthermore, the courts have not limited the legislature’s ability to determine that certain forms of poker should fall outside the general definition of gambling since those games are games of skill.”

The bill would explicitly legalize Texas hold’em and Omaha poker.

“These games are considered to be complex forms of poker that involve player strategy and decision-making and pit the skill levels of the players against each other. As games of skill, these forms of poker do not fall under the definition of gambling as prohibited by the penal law.”

New York is already home to casinos with poker, so the bill aims to authorize the games over the internet. New York has already allowed online sports betting.

“The legislature further finds that as the internet has become an integral part of society, and internet poker a major form of entertainment for many consumers, any interactive gaming enforcement and regulatory structure must begin from the bedrock premise that participation in a lawful and licensed gaming industry is a privilege and not a right, and that regulatory oversight is intended to safeguard the integrity of the games and participants and to ensure accountability and the public trust.”