Online poker is officially in the legislature again in New York for 2016.
Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow, head of the Assembly Committee on Racing and Wagering, introduced a bill that would legalize and regulate online poker in the state — A9049. At the same time, a Senate version of the bill — S5302 — has been brought back from the 2015 session earlier in January.
Of course, bills have been introduced in the past two years, as well — including once by Pretlow — with no real progress accompanying those bills, other than lawmakers talking about the issues.
The bill looks much like the one Pretlow introduced in 2014, with a few tweaks.
The bill sets up a regulatory scheme for online poker in the state, while making it explicitly legal:
The bill is mostly a repeat of the 2014 efforts, with a few tweaks.
The next step would be for the bill to be considered in the committee Pretlow chairs. An informational hearing on online poker was held in the Senate in 2015.
Given the relative lack of momentum for online poker in the past, its chances of advancing in the legislature don’t seem great on the surface. But 2016 offers a few differences from past years that could change the equation in New York:
While the bill’s ultimate success is an unknown, at least having the bill active in front of the legislature has to be seen as a positive development.