New York Senate Includes Online Poker In Its Budget, But The Coast Isn't Completely Clear

End Game For NY Online Poker? Inclusion In Senate Budget Sets Stage For Passage

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There’s another reason to be optimistic about New York’s chances of passing a bill legalizing online poker this year.

The New York Senate has unveiled its budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year.

Included in the Senate’s $160 billion FY 2017/2018 budget is the legalization of online poker. This activity would bring in a large chunk of revenue in Year 1 thanks to the hefty upfront $10 million licensing fees.

Online poker continues to gather momentum in New York

Online poker’s inclusion in the Senate’s budget is the latest in a string of positive signals dating back to 2016:

Obstacles persist

However, the signal isn’t crystal clear. There is also some noise coming through:

  • Pretlow’s support continues to come with caveats and qualifiers.
  • Where Gov. Cuomo’s office stands on this issue is still unclear. Pretlow cited unnamed people in the administration with reservations, and Cuomo’s press secretary said any proposal would be “reviewed very carefully.”
  • Online poker is not part of the Assembly’s current FY budget, nor is it included in the governor’s 2017/2018 budget.
  • Online poker was included in the Senate’s 2016/2017 budget, but it was stripped out of the final budget last year.

NY online poker regulation: next steps

The Senate is expected to pass its budget tomorrow. From there it will be a matter of convincing the Assembly to agree to add online poker to the budget over the next couple of weeks.

Based on the timeline, it’s safe to say the legislature is in the lightning round when it comes to passing a budget. Because of this, online poker could be a casualty of the legislature’s lack of time.

The good news is that even if online poker is out of the budget, legislation can be passed a standalone proposal down the road.

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- Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus for OPR is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.
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