NY online poker bill takes first step in 2018 after Senate passed bills in 2016, 2017

Game On For 2018: New York Online Poker Bill Advances Out Of Committee

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It’s a busy week for the possibility of expanded gambling in New York, and that includes online poker.

The latest for NY 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.

S 3898 was already approved by the full Senate in 2017. But legislative procedure meant the bill had to return to the Senate from the Assembly to start 2018.

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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What’s next for NY online poker?

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.

- 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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