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It’s a busy week for the possibility of expanded gambling in New York, and that includes online poker.
A bill that would legalize and regulate online poker advanced out of the Senate’s Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee on Tuesday. It was reported to the Senate Finance Committee by a vote of 10-1.
That marks the third straight year a bill will have advanced out of the gaming committee. In fact, a version of the online poker bill has passed the entire Senate in each of the past two years.
A hearing about the expansion of sports betting was already scheduled to take place in the same gaming committee on Wednesday morning.
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Given past history, it would be shocking if the bill didn’t eventually pass the Senate yet again. The problem in recent years has been the Assembly, which has refused to take much action on online poker legislation.
Besides a standalone bill, another possibility is the inclusion of online poker in the state budget.
Online poker did not appear in the planned budget of Gov. Andrew Cuomo released last week. But in the past, online poker has appeared in drafts of legislative budgets. It has never won final approval via that route.
The Assembly’s gaming chairman, Gary Pretlow, has said he would take up the issue early in the legislative session.
But the path for online poker is likely to stretch late into the spring, if it has a chance of becoming law.