Games

New York States Edges Towards Online Poker

Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr has raised hopes of online poker coming to NY state, but not before 2023.

Currently, only a handful of states have provisions for legalized online poker, with NY State not being one of them. However, Sen. Addabbo Jr admitted it was too late for this year, but 2023 might be the year NY State finally comes to the table.

“Remember, it took us two and a half years to do mobile sports betting in New York,” he said in a recent interview. “We threw legislation out there for iGaming in hopes of setting a foundation to build upon, part of which was the success of mobile sports betting in New York. S8142 (the current bill) came a little too late in the sense that budget negotiations had already started.”

Bill S8142, in its full form, would have allowed casinos in the state to offer online casino gaming, which could incorporate online poker. However, it will not be passed on the first go-around, although it is now under serious consideration. Unlike online sports wagering, with a tax rate of 51%, the iGaming tax rate proposed in the bill is only valued at 25%. This could be one stumbling block for the future, but it could be negotiated upward in the state’s favor. Indeed, the bill suggests starting revenue of around $475m per year in its current state and operators paying a one-time fee of $2m for their licenses.

Whilst online poker and iGaming might be a while before they hit the Empire State, there’s no doubt the US public is experiencing a desire for real money online poker games. Despite relatively few states offering games, some providers have found ways to reach new customers, such as crypto poker, which cleverly circumnavigates the rules by not strictly offering real money games. The mere fact that sites like these are finding a market proves how profitable and desired online poker is across the US.

Indeed, revenue from the likes of New Jersey underlines the desire and the benefits to states. In January, online casinos in New Jersey brought in $135.2m, with peer-to-peer online poker accounting for $2.6m, taking the iGaming income to a state-record of $137.8m. That was smaller than the income from land-based casinos, which earned the state $183.6m, but it still highlights the popularity of online poker and its place within the wider iGaming spectrum.

The revenues would likely be higher if the Empire State chose to accept online poker and iGaming in 2023. New Jersey has around 9.3m people, whilst NY State has almost 20.3m. If those figures show a direct correlation to tax income from online gaming, then Sen. Addabbo Jr’s bill could feasibly bring upward of $300m per month if the same taxable rate was applied as in New Jersey. That is significantly more than the $70m in tax revenue the state made from online sports betting in January this year, and it’s possible that increased taxes in one area could result in lower personal taxation elsewhere.

The route to legalized online poker and iGaming is never straightforward. Many states are heading down the road of implementing legislation, but few are close to adding to the states that currently offer such games. Indeed, some states with legalized online poker are not currently able to offer games as providers believe them to be too small; West Virginia is a classic example. However, the figures from states that allow such games are impressive enough to ensure lawmakers contuse to explore the possibilities. It seems they’re getting closer than many in NY State, even if games are more than 18 months away.

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