New Addabbo Bill Would Legalize Online Poker, Creating Up To 10 Platforms In New York

Written By Dan Holmes on May 8, 2024
Image of a phone with online poker for a story on a new bill from Sen. Joseph Addabbo that would legalize online poker in New York.

A New York State Senate bill that would legalize online poker in NY has a familiar sponsor.

Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. has introduced S9226 after seeing previous attempts to legalize online casinos in New York fail to gain steam in the state legislature.

The proposed bill would allow the state to issue as many as 10 online poker licenses at a fee of $10 million each. Revenue from online poker would be taxed at 15%, which is a lower figure than previous Addabbo proposals.

The bill would also define online poker as a game of skill rather than chance, which could have sweeping impact on how New York views gaming.

Justifying legalization of online poker in New York

Addabbo is chair of the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering, which is where S9226 currently resides.

In his justification for legalizing online poker in New York, Addabbo emphasized that “numerous New York residents are participating in illegal, unregulated, and unsafe gaming operations which offer games of chance over the Internet.”

By legalizing online poker, Addabbo continued, NY regulators can issue licenses to operators “that meet the high standards set by the state and offer limited games of poker which require a high level of skill.”

Addabbo singled out games such as Omaha Hold’em and Texas Hold’em as falling under the definition of games of skill.

“Thus,” the justification went on, “not only this will help New York regulate an industry that is presently operating without oversight in New York State, but also generate additional revenue from taxes and licenses fees associated with a licensed online poker system in New York State.”

Could NY online poker thrive once live?

Only six states have active online poker markets, including neighboring New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Given the tremendous success of NY sports betting (it’s the largest market in the US), it seems likely that online poker would be popular in the Empire State.

In a handful of states – such as Michigan, New Jersey and Pennsylvania – live-dealer online poker is offered. In live-dealer poker, a set is where a dealer issues cards played by real players via teleconferencing over the internet.

It’s unclear whether S9226 permits live-dealer poker. That wrinkle could be hammered out by further debate or left to regulators to determine if it passes.

Addabbo has attempted to legalize online poker in the past. Most recently, the vertical was included in a bill to authorize online casinos in New York, a proposal that ultimately was left out of the state budget.

The current NY State Legislative Session runs through June 6.

Photo by Shutterstock
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Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes is a freelance writer for PlayNY. An author of three books about sports, he previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. Dan enjoys writing, running and lemon bars. He lives near Lake Michigan with his daughters and usually has an orange cream soda nearby.

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