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Read on for the latest New York online poker news, along with a summary of the legislative efforts to date.
You can play sweepstakes online poker in New York and win real cash prizes via Global Poker.
Even though it missed the boat again in 2019, New York remains a serious contender for online poker legalization.
Legalization could make the Empire State the sixth — following New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia — to legalize online poker. Some believe the changing landscape for gambling expansion could help push New York to the finish line in the near future.
Want to support NY online poker? Contact your representative using this tool.
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Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. tells OPR that online gambling and mobile sports betting could be possible in New York under the existing constitutional language.
New York is among the handful of states that partially legalized sports betting before the US Supreme Court overturned PASPA. That decision in May 2018 activated a provision in the 2013 law authorizing retail sportsbooks at the four commercial casinos upstate.
Early in 2019, regulators approved interim rules for NY sports betting, which are now subject to a 60-day public comment period. Once finalized, in-person sports betting should roll out fairly quickly. All four properties have already secured their partners:
Compacts will also allow the state’s gaming tribes to open sportsbooks on their properties. So far, only the Oneida Nation has a public partnership, having teamed up with Caesars for NY sports betting.
Here’s the timeline of “progress” toward NY online poker so far:
New York’s legislature made no effort to push online poker in 2019.
Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. and Assemblyman Gary Pretylow both reintroduced companion online poker bills (S 18 and A 4924). But the bills weren’t advanced out of committee before the legislature adjourned in June.
The dream of online poker died yet again in 2018, when the legislature failed to act on pair of active bills. A key lawmaker in the Assembly said he’d prioritize sports betting going forward.
Meanwhile, we were left to diagnose what went wrong yet again as neighboring Pennsylvania prepared to launch its own industry. A late-2018 court ruling regarding fantasy sports seems to dim the prospects in NY even further.
Pretlow seemed more eager to push things in the Assembly, but that optimism didn’t turn into action.
We saw real progress made on online poker in 2016.
It started off with some forward momentum via committee hearings. Then, Bonacic managed to get his iPoker bill through the Senate with a lopsided vote of 53-5 late in the legislative session.
However, Pretlow said the issue didn’t have support in his chamber, and the bill died on the vine. In the wake of that, Pretlow cited a variety of concerns, including whether poker is a “game of skill” and the issues of security and cheating at sites.
Daily fantasy sports was legalized and regulated by the government in 2016.
In May of 2015 Bonacic reintroduced his online poker bill, S 5302, but once again the legislature didn’t act on it, and entering 2016, online poker had never even warranted a hearing.
The year before, in March of 2014, a bill seeking to legalize online poker, S 6913, was introduced by Bonacic, who would become online poker’s biggest cheerleader in New York in the years to come. Several months later, in July of 2014, Pretlow introduced a similar online poker bill in the State Assembly.
Recognizing the mood in the legislature, Bonacic called his 2014 bill a conversation starter, and stated that he never intended to make a serious push for online poker expansion in 2014.
The biggest hurdle online poker had to overcome in the New York legislature was the attitude voiced by several key politicians that online legislation needed to wait until the state completed its current gaming expansion project, four new brick-and-mortar casinos.
Three of those casinos are now up and running, with Rivers Casino taking its first bet in February 2017, and del Lago in January 2017. Tioga Downs officially expanded into a casino in December 2016.
Online poker was first broached in 2013, as a potential funding source for the state’s budget; an idea that never gained any traction.