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The majority in the New York Senate is supporting a budget plan that allows for the regulation of online poker.
PART FFF – The Senate advances language to authorize and regulate On-Line Poker.
The inclusion of online poker in the budget is a sign that at least some politicians in New York are high on online poker for the current legislative session.
But online poker has been on the agenda of the legislature before, with very little progress being made. The latest effort at regulation started in January, when a House version of an online poker bill came via Rep. J. Gary Pretlow.
Poker Players Alliance Executive Director John Pappas managed expectations for online poker’s chances in the budget:
“The budget in New York is not an easy process to handicap. It’s encouraging to see iPoker included, but we’ve been in this position before and came up short,” Pappas told Online Poker Report.
“There is a broader support for iPoker today than ever before from both the industry and politicians. As the budget unfolds we are encouraging New York poker players to do their part and contact lawmakers to express support.”
The state budget is due in less than two weeks, as the state’s fiscal year begins in April. That means if online poker is going to be a part of the final budget, we’re likely to find out soon.
The budget isn’t terribly close to being a finished product, per Newsday:
The start of the fiscal year is less than two weeks away, yet the governor and the State Legislature have made little tangible progress toward settling what’s likely to be a spending plan of $154 billion or more for fiscal 2016-17. In Albany time, two weeks are plenty to finish negotiations. But clearly there are significant issues to resolve.
Online poker will not be a huge part of the revenue plan to fund the budget — although licensing fees, in the current version of the bill, are $10 million per registrant.
The bigger issue will be if everyone in the state is on board with an expansion of online gambling, rather than using it as a significant funding mechanism for the government.
Regardless, this has to be seen as a positive development for online poker in New York.