YONKERS, WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NY —June 1, 2022 — Online poker has been hotly debated in New York for years. While lawmakers have proposed many bills in favor of legalization, none has passed so far. So, what the future holds? Online poker is a nuanced issue, but legalizing it in New York could provide several benefits for both residents and the state.
Possible Benefits of Online Poker Legalization
What can we get out of online poker besides entertainment? We know that one major boon is almost inevitable: tax revenue. When it comes down to just how much tax revenue we stand to gain, nobody can predict the future. However, several statistics point towards a positive outlook.
New York is one of the most populous states in the United States, coming in at number four behind Texas, California, and Florida. Were online poker to be legalized here, it would provide a larger potential player pool than any other legalized state in the nation, meaning that the potential for tax revenue is quite promising.
Looking to New Jersey as a guide on what New York may expect, we can see that NJ online casino gaming pulled in over $49 million in tax revenue back in 2019. Poker is a big part of casino gaming, and New Yorkers seem to love it just as much as New Jerseyans. With so many residents and visitors flocking to play at the collection of land-based card rooms in New York, online poker seems like the next logical step to take.
Safety & Security Come First for New Yorkers
Regulated online gaming keeps people who use poker websites safe. As it stands now, many residents already have access to online poker—but these sites may not be legit, compromising player security and causing significant problems. To solve this issue, legalization and regulation are necessary.
Of course, New York isn’t alone in its efforts. Many states have already taken the plunge to launch online poker rooms, and we can look to neighboring Pennsylvania as an example of how legalization has played out. Players here have the freedom to access a plethora of reputable NJ poker sites and can enjoy ample security provided by standardized licensure and regulation methods.
In Pennsylvania, there is no incentive to play with unlicensed or hazardous poker providers online. Regulated websites fill a gap in the market and meet residents’ needs, all while generating a tidy profit for the state. This is a classic win-win situation, and New York would do well to take a page out of PA’s book.
Is Legislation Likely to Pass in the Near Future?
Right now, some New York governing bodies (and especially the city of Niagara) have a hard time dispersing funds from land-based casinos and poker rooms. Too many entities, both government and otherwise, are clamoring for their fair share of the pie.
Some citizens are discouraged by this, as it minimizes their belief in impactful profits on a larger scale. However, problems like these could be solved with detailed planning.
Furthermore, despite the launch of privatized commercial casinos in 2013 and the legalization of on-site sports betting in 2019, Governor Cuomo was hesitant to sign an online poker and casino bill. On the other hand, political offices like those of Senator Joseph Joseph Addabbo, Jr. are working to make it happen with a litany of bills in recent years and the promise of more to follow.
In all likelihood, New York will eventually join other states which have passed bills implementing online poker. However, the process here will go much slower. We’ve seen how long it took to pass legislation for other games and types of venues, but residents need not lose hope—with big potential on the horizon, the future looks bright for New York players.