Posted in Industry March 29, 2017

Recent Online Poker Bills: Will There Be More Poker Worldwide?

Online poker is a game that has millions of fans worldwide. Sadly, even with the help of the Internet some people cannot enjoy it fully. The governments of some countries, such as the US, have a strongly negative stance against gambling. However, it seems that players are slowly wearing them down. The most recent bills pertaining to online poker are a definite proof of that.

Hot Online Poker Debate in New York

Only a few days ago the senators of New York made many people extremely happy by officially legalizing online poker in their state. People of New York have John Bonacic (Senator) to thank for this as he was the one to propose the bill (S3898).

The Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee of the state has voted positively on the bill, which allowed it to be moved to the Senate Finance Committee. With quite a bit of bureaucratic shuffling involved the bill was finally accepted and now there would be 11 licenses for online poker in the state of New York.

Each of them is worth $10 million, but this is hardly a remarkable price for the gambling industry, which is worth billions. The truly outstanding thing about this legalization is that it’s another chink in the wall that still separates America from the majority of the world.

Most types of gambling, including its online varieties, are still prohibited on the country scale. However, due to the political and administrative structure of the US, individual states can make their own laws that overrule the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. Slowly, but surely, America comes into its own on the international gambling market and we can expect further growth of the industry in this country.

As for New York, an identical bill was also proposed at the State Assembly by Gary Pretlow. Like the one approved by the Senators, it presents poker as a game of skill instead of one relying on chance only. This makes the all-important distinction between a sport and gamble, which is how the law makers manage to avoid the gambling restrictions.

A New Online Poker Bill in California

It seems that California is finally ready to join the US states that are legalizing online gambling to some extent. At least, online poker seems to have a rather good chance. There have been quite a few attempts at this in the past, but none of them succeeded. Reginald Jones-Sawyer, an Assemblyman from the sunny state, seems to believe his bill (AB 1677) would be able to break this pattern. If it does, there would be some 7-year online poker licenses available for the picking soon. Their cost is supposed to be $12.5 million a piece and they are to be offered to in-state gaming providers only.

This is a good approach as it offers the politicians the thing they want most, which is a large boost to the budget coming through the taxes that these gambling businesses would pay. With the tax rates set at 8.8% (under $150 million revenue), 10% ($150-$250 million revenue), 12.5% ($250-$350 million revenue), and 15% (over $350 million revenue), the bill definitely has a good chance of achieving a positive vote.

The opponents of the bill are using a very specific requirement in its wording to support their position. Like others before it, the AB 1677 has a caveat that aims to take the horse racing industry out of this ‘gambling race’. In essence, it’s an honest bribe that amounts to 95% of the first $60 million earned by the legalized gambling sites in a year.

According to those arguing against the bill, California is unlikely to produce more than this amount of revenue in this specific area within a year. However, considering the rate of online gambling popularity growth, this is rather hard to believe. We’ve yet to see whether the AB 1677 would be successful. Although, its creators did learn from the past failures and had enough foresight not to include the ‘bad actors clause’ that failed its predecessors.

Will There Be an Online Poker Ban in Australia?

Australian online poker lovers have already suffered a serious blow as some of the best providers in the gaming industry have withdrawn from the country. However, despite the desertion of the 888Casino, 888Poker division and PokerStars Casino, Aussies might still have the chance to keep their favorite game.

The law that pushed those renowned businesses to remove their services from the country has not yet been ratified. The Australian gamblers’ problem comes from the proposed Gambling Amendment Bill of 2016. This small, but not insignificant, amendment closes the loopholes that currently allow online poker in the country, despite the state-wide gambling ban.

Should it go through, making online poker wagers in Australia would become impossible. The chances of this happening are definitely high as they’ve managed to scare off leading businesses in the field.

However, Aussie poker lovers aren’t ready to give up yet. They’ve created the Australian Poker Alliance and are offering an amendment of their own that would allow the online poker loophole to exist. They still have several weeks to get their changes approved and save poker in Australia.

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Casino Legislation, Gambling Legislation, Legislation, Online Gambling, Online Poker, Poker


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