It is an exciting time for online poker in the U.S. As we have posted, several states including Illinois, Iowa and Texas have introduced new legislation within the last 30 days to legalize some form of Internet gambling ranging from fantasy sporting leagues to poker tournaments. It now appears that New York may be considering the legalization of Internet poker, and possibly other online games of skill, within its borders.
While no bill has been introduced to the State legislature, on Monday the New York Senate wrote in a resolution addressing budgeting negotiations, that it “supports authorizing and regulating Internet gaming for games of skill, including poker, to reflect recent changes in the classification of these games.” The State Senate was most likely referring to an August 2012 New York federal court case, U.S. v. DiCristina, in which the judge overruled the defendant’s conviction, finding that poker is a game of skill and thereby not regulated by the Illegal Gambling Business Act of 1955. The DiCristina case is the first time a federal court has recognized poker as a game of skill, rather than a game of luck or chance.
With New York’s budget deadline of March 31 rapidly approaching, it is unlikely that an encompassing bill will be a proposed before then, but lawmakers have made it clear that they recognize and consider online poker to be a potentially major revenue-generating industry for the State. New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, stated that he is looking into the legality of online poker and considering the effect it would have on upstate brick and mortar casinos.
The development and progression of New York’s stance on Internet poker is a significant topic for all gaming attorneys and those interested in online poker and gambling in general.
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