On Wednesday the plug was officially pulled, when the NY Assembly ended the 2018 legislative session at 11 p.m. It did so without passing online poker or sports betting legislation.
Unable to compete with the hype of sports betting, 2018 saw online poker once again relegated to the sidelines. In 2016, it was daily fantasy sports that stole the show in the NY legislature.
Unlike DFS, lawmakers failed to reach an eleventh-hour consensus when it came to sports betting. But sports betting did succeed in sucking most of the oxygen out of the room when it came to gaming expansions.
Even the NY Senate, the legislative body that easily passed online poker bills in 2016 and 2017, gave online poker only the slightest of consideration this year.
Next year is already shaping up to be an interesting year in Albany.
For online poker advocates, there are reasons for optimism and pessimism.
The good news is, the legislature will undoubtedly want to revisit sports betting next year. Failure to pass sports betting legislation will put the state at a competitive disadvantage to the other states in the region.
That said, barring significant turnover in the mid-term election, the legislature still needs to find enough votes to pass a sports betting bill.
With the Assembly reportedly less than ten votes shy of a majority there is the possibility that online poker could be added to the sports betting mix, something that was floated around the statehouse earlier this year.
With six months before its 2019 reset, the New York legislature is no longer harried. Leadership now has plenty of time to carefully craft legislation a majority of lawmakers can agree to.
The bad news is it’s entirely unclear if online poker will be a part of the equation.
The New York Assembly has been Jekyll and Hyde when it comes to online poker, and sports betting can likely be solved by removing the “royalty” fee the professional sports leagues are asking for that some legislators surprisingly think the leagues deserve.
Further complicating matters, online poker’s biggest cheerleader in the Senate, Sen. John Bonacic, is retiring at the end of 2018.
It makes for a difficult landscape for online poker in Albany.