NY Senate Committee To Consider iPoker Legislation This Week

With Deadline Looming, New York Online Poker Bill Still Looks Like A Longshot

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Online poker legislation in New York made a lot of progress — or at least more than it had in previous years — but its chances are waning with the legislature’s adjournment looming.

Good news for NY online poker

There was a glimmer of hope and a dash of pessimism for online poker proponents this week.

On the good side of the ledger is the fact that the Senate Finance Committee will hold a meeting on Thursday (9:30 a.m. Eastern) that includes consideration of Sen. John Bonacic’s online poker bill.

That bill passed Bonacic’s committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering in February, but it has been at a standstill ever since. No action has been taken on the Assembly side with a companion bill from Assemblymember Gary Pretlow.

Bad news for NY online poker

Pretlow spoke with Legal Sports Report regarding his new legislation for daily fantasy sports, which he introduced on Friday.

When asked about his online poker bill, Pretlow did not sound optimistic about its chances.

“I am very interested in the issue, but I don’t think we can get it done in the next two weeks,” Pretlow said in an interview.

Back in April, Pretlow had already set long odds of the online poker bill reaching the Assembly floor, so the new assessment is not a shock.

Pretlow has not talked on the record of what concerns are slowing down the iPoker effort. He anticipated “smooth sailing” for the DFS bill, however.

So what’s next for online poker?

If something is going to happen in 2016, it needs to happen fast. The New York legislature is set to adjourn on June 16 — leaving just nine legislative days for the bill to be passed by the statehouse and moved to the governor.

If the bill somehow gets pushed through the Senate, it’s at least feasible it will get a look in the Assembly. But it would have to go through Pretlow’s gaming committee.

It might be that 2016 just sets the stage for a real push in 2017 for online poker. This year has already seen casino interests — namely the New York Gaming Association — going from fence-sitters to supporters of online poker regulation.

So while 2016 may end in the status quo for New York, next year could bode well for online poker’s future.

Jay Yuan / Shutterstock.com

- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner. He has played poker recreationally for his entire adult life and has written about poker since 2008.
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