The recent proposal for special legislation to be introduced in New Jersey relating to poker was undoubtedly great news for fans of the game in the state.
However, for players in neighbouring New York it is highly likely that the announcement will have left them feeling just a little deflated.
While New Jersey officials continue to be proactive in embracing the gambling boom, their counterparts in New York are still dragging their heels.
Read on as we take a closer look at the latest state of play for poker in New Jersey and assess how developments there may affect New York in the future.
NJ Aiming to Declare Poker a Game of Skill
Players already have plenty of online casino NJ opportunities for real-money games and their options would be widened if the new legislation is passed.
The bill aims to have poker classified as a game of skill and bluff and would therefore not be a form of gambling that is restricted by the provisions of the New Jersey Constitution.
This would mean that permit holders for racetracks in the state could establish a poker room at their venues on the basis that they retained a portion of the amounts wagered.
The games would fall under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement rather than the New Jersey Racing Commission.
Why Does the Bill Matter?
Establishing poker as a game of skill rather than a form of gambling is an important distinction to make and would have much wider reaching implications.
It would create new opportunities for the live poker industry and generate extra revenues for the various racetrack operators.
The latter point is a particularly pertinent one, with some venues in New Jersey currently struggling to make ends meet in the current financial climate.
Although there may be opposition from some Atlantic City casinos, the bill could have a good chance of passing as it is limited to the game of poker.
NJ Poker Boom Continues Apace
Online poker revenues continue to boom in New Jersey, highlighting the lucrative potential of the game in the state and elsewhere.
More than $3.5 million was generated by regulated operators there during June 2020 – almost double the figure reported for the same period last year.
With revenues in April and May also showing a significant year-on-year increase, it is easy to see why officials in New Jersey are eager to cash in.
Allowing poker to be played at the racetracks would serve to heighten the game’s popularity and generate even greater revenues in the state.
New York Players Look on With Envy
While New Jersey’s gambling boom is great news for players, operators and state finances, the situation is very different in New York.
The state has historically had some of the strictest gambling laws in the United States and has been reluctant to let off the brakes in recent times.
Although it is not illegal for New York residents to participate in online gambling, they have to use the services of operators located elsewhere.
However, the success of regulated online gambling in other states has left many NY players yearning for new legislation to be introduced in their jurisdiction.
Addabbo Leading the Poker Charge in NY
The push in New Jersey to have poker declared as a game of skill and bluff could have a major knock-on effect in New York.
Officials in the state have been trying for seven years to legalise online poker in the state, and they will be keeping a watchful eye on events in New Jersey.
A bill from Senator Joseph Addabbo to remove poker as an illegal game of chance has appeared back on file and may have a greater chance of succeeding than previous incarnations.
Passing new legislation for poker would not only be a positive move for NY players, but would also prove to be hugely beneficial for the state in terms of tax revenues.
NY Ready to Join the Poker Party
Given the difficulties many industries are facing in the current climate, it makes perfect sense for New York to ease the restrictions on poker.
The figures generated in New Jersey highlight the popularity of the game and operators are queuing up to replicate that success in New York.
The key to breaking down the barriers may well lie in the proposal in New Jersey to have poker declared as a game of skill and bluff as opposed to a form of gambling.
If that bill is passed, it would be no surprise to see Addabbo’s proposal rubber-stamped and that would be fantastic news for poker fans in New York.