The situation with online poker in the United States is extremely tricky. Because the game is unlikely to be regulated on a national level, it's up to the states to regulate things one at a time. New York has been one of the states putting up the most resistance to regulating the industry, but a recent development has put players in a position of being a bit more hopeful than before. Bill S5302, which would make poker games officially games of skill instead of luck, was passed by the Gaming and Wagering Committee with a unanimous vote. Now it goes to the Finance Committee for future consideration.
What the Bill Calls For
If you want to read more about online poker, you can click here, but the basic idea is that the industry has been in a slump for several years. This bill that recently passed the Gaming and Wagering Committee in New York could be a step towards reversing that. The point of the bill is that ten online poker licenses would be awarded at a cost of $10 million apiece, and the licenses would be good for a decade. From there, there would also be a 15 percent tax on gross revenue.
Why Regulation is Necessary
The regulation of online poker is extremely important for a lot of reasons. Even if you look at poker laws like the UIGEA, you see that there's nothing really saying poker is illegal. The Department of Justice even came out in 2011 and said that there was no federal law making poker illegal online. But state laws still apply, and at the time of this writing, there's nothing saying that poker is a game of skill in New York, which is has to be before regulation could be passed.
When the industry becomes regulated, we'll see players able to get in on the action without having to play with sites that don't have proper oversight. Players typically have to rely on the past histories of the companies they play with instead of some kind of authority over them, and that has led to plenty of situations where players don't feel comfortable playing online. When players are more comfortable playing through regulation like this, that will boost the number of people in the games while simultaneously boosting the chances that other states regulate the industry.