NY Senate Finance Committee Advances Poker Bill

New YorkThe move to regulate online poker in New York has advanced after S.5302 was passed by their Senate Finance Committee.

The Senate Finance Committee for New York has pushed forward a bill that would regulate online poker there.

In the United States, online poker has been shown before to have a tremendous following with thousands of players from all across the country taking part in the game. However, the current state of the industry in the US is that individual states are going to have to regulate the industry one-by-one and form gaming pacts that allow them to share players for Americans to have anything resembling what the environment was like back before the Black Friday event. New York has come one step closer to regulating online poker in their state now that the Senate Finance Committee has advanced S.5302, a bill that would regulate the industry.

The Critical Nature of S.5302

Right now, the industry is sorely lacking new states regulating online poker (or any form of online gambling, for that matter). Many thought 2015 was going to be the year that saw a lot more new states jump aboard, but that was not the case. Instead, Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey are still the only three. The reason that S.5302 and New York are so critical is that if this bill passes, New York will bring a ton of players to the table overall. If New York then makes instrastate agreements with some of the other states to share players, much like what we’ve seen already between Delaware and Nevada, then that could be huge for the player pool and poker ecology as whole.

Poker Ecology Issues

One of the main issues for online poker in the United States, at least on a regulated front, is the nature of poker ecologies. The bottom line is that you can have some types of gambling work out well enough depending on the number of players you have. If you have 10 people playing blackjack, for example, you’ll make roughly one-tenth of what you would make compared to having 100 players. However, that’s not the case for poker. The bottom line is that having 100 players, for example, is less than one-tenth as good as having 1,000 because of the way tables collapse and games die if there aren’t enough people around at all times to keep things going.

This is why New York (and California with its high population) is particularly important to the overall health of the industry. There’s been no interest and no momentum in really getting behind regulating online poker on a federal level, so the states are left to do it themselves. The only way that the games can produce revenues to make them worth having is if instrastate agreements are in place, but even then, they need enough players to pull the whole thing together to keep the games going in the first place. Adding a high-population state like New York to the mix by having S.5302 pass would do exactly that.

Where to Go From Here

The poker regulation bill getting through the New York Senate Finance Committee is great news, but the fight is far from over. There are still plenty of other steps and more votes before it becomes law, and while there is plenty of time for this to all happen without the session running out of time, there are no guarantees. The situation is as favorable as we could hope at this point, but there’s still quite a bit of distance for the bill to cover before it’s seen as a sure thing.

Until then, we’re just going to have to wait and see what happens. What’s so interesting about this case in particular is that 2016 is turning out to be a lot more favorable for online poker regulations than what was expected after the less-than-stellar 2015 that the regulated industry in the United States saw as a whole. If New York, California, Pennsylvania and Michigan all pass their respective bills, then that will be an unstoppable amount of momentum for regulation. Even if only two of them do, if one of those are California or New York, that will be a massive step in the right direction for the year as a whole.