2020 seems like it is going to be a great year for poker across the United States. We’re not even a month into the year yet, and three states have introduced laws that aim to legalize the game along with other gambling activities.
First, there was Nebraska. Lawmakers in the state decided to introduce a law that would classify poker, daily fantasy sports and sportsbetting as games of skill rather than games of luck. Since gambling is currently illegal in the state, this would make these games playable by Nebraskans and it would allow for venues to offer these activities.
Then, Kentucky moved forward with a gaming bill. After becoming the governor of Kentucky, Andy Beshear decided to pass House Bill 137, which would allow for players to access online betting activities, poker and daily fantasy sports. The proposal suggests a $500,000 licensing fee and a $50,000 renewal fee. There would be a tax rate of 10.25% which would increase up to 14.25% depending on how much money operators make.
Finally, New York decided to give online poker legislation another go. The state has been struggling to pass a law that would legalize online poker for some time but, now that more states are getting on board with the idea, New York might actually have a chance this time.
Lawmakers in New York revived bills S.18 and A.4924 earlier this month. Bill S18 will classify poker as a game of skill and legalize the activity, and A.4924 is a companion bill that has the same goals. Neither of these bills were passed in previous attempts but there is a good possibility that they will receive the attention they deserve this year.
This is a huge progress for the gaming market in America. In 2019, we saw West Virginia and Michigan legalize online betting while online casino games and poker went live in Pennsylvania. Now, there are already lawmakers in three states who want to jump on board the bandwagon.
2020 could be the year the United States really opens up to online gambling. We’re only into January, so it will be very interesting to see how many other states launch online gambling legislation and which ones will go through with legalizing certain online gaming activities. Online poker and daily fantasy sports are the most likely to be approved, but this does bode well for other casino games, too.