Various US states have taken into consideration differences between skill and luck to determine the legality of a game. A senator of New York State has proposed the legalization of interactive poker games on grounds that they are based more on skill than on luck.
John J. Bonacic is the sponsor of Bill S5302-2015, which proposes to authorize “the New York State Gaming Commission to license certain entities to offer for play to the public certain variants of Internet poker which require a significant degree of skill, specifically ‘Omaha Hold’em’ and ‘Texas Hold’em’.”
The bill, which was introduced on May 13, 2015, is now being considered by the New York State Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee. If it is passed into law, at least 10 operators of online poker gaming services will receive licenses. Each license will cost $10 million and will expire in 10 years. License holders will also have to pay taxes of 15% on their gross gaming revenue to the state.
Proponents of the bill argue that several residents are already playing chance-based games illegally. Bonacic says that by implementing high standards for licensees and restricting their offerings to skill-based games alone, consumes can be protected. He maintains that Texas Hold’em and Omaha Hold’em are both skill-based games and suggests that regulation will lead to increase in tax revenue for the state.
Currently, legal online poker is available only in Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada. Although these jurisdictions have legalized the game, financial institutions and banks still want to stay away from processing funds related to online gambling. It will take time for the online gambling industry to convince finance executives about the possibilities of fraud control and issues related to geo-location.
Several analysts had suggested that New York could be the ideal addition to US states that have already legalized interactive poker games. If Senator Bonacic’s bill is passed into law, New York will become the 4th US state to legalize some forms of online poker, provided these games are based more on skill than on chance.
However, this is a much-travelled road for Bonacic, who had previously introduced a bill that proposed legalizing online poker on grounds that it is a game of skill.