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Legal online poker in New York

Even though it was late to the party, New York is fast becoming a serious contender for online poker legalization. The state came close in 2017, and sponsors of an effort that made it through a vote in the Senate have indicated that they intend to resume the push once New York comes back into session in 2018. That would make New York the fourth state, following New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware, to legalize online poker.

Read on for the latest NY online poker news along with a summary of the story for online poker so far in New York.

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New York online poker news

Snapshot: Week of April 23, 2018

Things are happening for online poker, as a bill is now up to 40 co-sponsors. And a key lawmaker, Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, has indicated a push will happen this year.

Earlier, Assemblymember Clyde Vanel said that the legislature has a good chance of passing something year. Of course, the proof is in the pudding. Once again, New York didn’t put online poker in its final budget, despite the Senate’s wishes.

If you’re in New York, it never hurts to send an email, call, or tweet to your senators and representatives to let them know you want them to support online poker. Here’s an easy form to do just that.

Latest NY online poker stories

Online poker is already on some lawmakers’ radar, will bills again coming from both Sen. John Bonacic and Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow.

Pretlow seems more eager to push things in the Assembly this year, but time will tell if that is true.

What we do know, is that online poker will not be in the state’s budget for 2017, but all that really means is that online poker legislation will have to pass via standalone bills.

New York seems to be steeped in an arms race of sorts with its neighbor. As the topic continues to gain momentum in Pennsylvania, New York seems to resurrect the possibility of online poker expansion.

In fact, some believe that New York’s best hope is for Pennsylvania to pass an online gambling bill, which could accelerate action in the Empire State. That could lead to more bills and an informational hearing or two, which would set the stage for a strong online poker push in 2017.

NY online poker history

Online poker was first broached in 2013, as a potential funding source for the state’s budget; an idea that never gained any traction.

The following year, in March of 2014, a bill seeking to legalize online poker, S 6913, was introduced by state Sen. John Bonacic, who would become online poker’s biggest cheerleader in New York in the years to come. Several months later, in July of 2014, Assemblyman J. Gary 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 & 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.

2016 in review

Last year saw real progress made on online poker.

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.

2015 in review

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.