Hearings Likely For New York Online Poker In 2015

New York Online Poker 2015: Hearings, But No Vote, Says Key Pol

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A bill to regulate online poker in New York will be re-introduced in 2015, but is unlikely to reach a vote or become law.

That’s per Assemblyman Gary Pretlow,who heads the Assembly Committee on Racing and Wagering.

“Online poker will not happen within the year, but there will probably be hearings,” Pretlow told GamblingCompliance.

Pretlow made similar comments to GamblingCompliance in May of 2014.

Building on the foundation of 2014

Pretlow and Sen. John Bonacic introduced companion online poker bills in 2014. You can view the full bill text here and a summary here.

At the time, Bonacic told OPR that he viewed the bill’s introduction as a way to “start having a discussion on the issue” rather than a direct path to regulation.

2014 also saw MGM launch a campaign in support of online poker regulation in New York.

Dubbed “Let NY Play,” the campaign generated mainstream media coverage and continues to show activity on social media.

MGM’s support comes despite their current lack of involvement in New York’s gaming market.

The ghost of Christie’s projections

There are a host of issues that might dampen lawmaker’s enthusiasm for regulating online poker.

Among them, suggested Pretlow, is the (arguably inaccurate) perception that New Jersey’s regulated online gambling market has been a disappointment.

“It’s not working so well in New Jersey,” Pretlow noted to GamblingCompliance.

But, of course, the baseline for measuring success in New Jersey is Gov Chris Christie’s fundamentally flawed (to put it kindly) projections for regulated online gambling revenue.

Land-based expansion also in the way

The still-evolving picture for New York’s latest round of land-based casino expansion could present a more formidable hurdle for online poker advocates.

New York officials shut out online poker supporter Caesars when three land-based licenses were awarded in December 2014.

And Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently asked the state Gaming Commission to reopen bidding for a fourth license that the Commission declined to award.

Cuomo’s intervention could trigger delays on the land-based side that might ultimately push online poker further down the legislative priority list.

- Chris is the publisher of OnlinePokerReport.com. Grove also serves as a consultant to various stakeholders in the regulated market for online gambling in the United States.
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