NYS lawmakers look into legalizing online poker

Online poker would be banned for anyone under

Online poker would be banned for anyone under 21.

THE BRONX - (AP) -- A proposal to allow Internet poker in New York is dividing the gambling industry, with some companies predicting increased revenue for state government and others warning it would threaten existing gambling facilities.

A state legislative panel listened to both sides Wednesday during a hearing on a proposal to license and tax Internet poker games.

Not invited to speak were anti-gambling groups who say Internet poker would exploit compulsive gamblers.

Executives from large gambling companies like MGM told the lawmakers that licensed online gambling would allow New York to regulate an activity that's already going on. But representatives for local racinos said Internet poker should be allowed only if local gambling facilities can operate the games.

The committee's chairman, Republican Sen. Jon Bonacic, said the proposal would be carefully considered.

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