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Poker ‘skill’ debate reignited by New York Assembly Bill

Poker ‘skill’ debate reignited by New York Assembly Bill

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New York State Assemblyman, James Gary Pretlow, has introduced a Bill that would legalise certain forms of online poker, by classifying them as skill-based games.

House Bill 1380 would seek to regulate legal online poker in New York and has been referred to the racing and wagering committee, of which Pretlow is Chair, for review.

The proposed Bill would amend New York’s racing, pari-mutuel wagering and breeding law by adding a new section that would redefine online Texas Hold’em and Omaha poker, “as well as any other poker game that the Commission determines is the material equivalent of either of those” as games of skill rather than luck – therefore legalising the games.

The thinking behind this Bill mirrors the reasoning behind the March 2022 ruling in the New York Court of Appeals ruling that determined fantasy sports to be a game of skill rather than a game of chance.

The debate as to whether of not certain forms of poker are ‘games of skill’ has raged for decades, and has many nuances. That the more skilful players win more often cannot be disputed, however the slightest element of chance is almost always considered an insurmountable obstacle to the concept of ‘pure’ skill.