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New Yorkers Still Waiting

Posted on June 8, 2017 | Comments Off on New Yorkers Still Waiting

For several years now, Senator John Bonacic has been trying to pass an online poker bill, which would make online poker legal in New York, and it seems that, after yet another failure in 2016, when the piece never made it to Assembly consideration, there are some chances for the bill to see the light of day by the end of 2017. Last year, Bonacic’s biggest foe was Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, who has been chairing the Assembly Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee for several years now. His previous statement concerning the proposed bill was that it will not have that big a support in the Assembly.

Obviously, something has changed from the last proposal, since Pretlow stated in February that there has been a significant shift in opinion in the Assembly, and that they will welcome the poker bill in 2017. However, it has proved more than once that the Assembly is a very tough nut to crack. New York’s Senate Finance Committee voted to send the S-3898 online poker bill, even though the decision was not unanimous. Five members were against it, but we will never know their reasons, since there was no debate preceding the actual vote. Such a decision of the Committee was widely expected, concerning the same outcome in the 2016.

As for the Assembly, there are lots of news concerning the current resistance against the poker bill among plenty of Assembly members, according to New York journalist Andrew Whitman. If we are to believe his reports, the biggest problem isn’t the poker bill, but the notion that the Assembly is “making it too easy” for New York residents to gamble, bearing in mind the fact that a large portion of new land-based casinos recently started their business in the state.

There is also the matter of tribal casino operators, which will certainly oppose, but, according to Pretlow, if Gov. Andrew Cuomo realizes that this bill will guarantee a profit of $100,000,000 in cash, he will definitely be on board. On the other hand, Cuomo needs to be careful, due to the scandal involving him, David Baazov, the former CEO of Canada’s Amaya Gaming, and $25,000 of illegal donation during 2014 campaign, so this question could be re-activated if Cuomo finds himself in the centre of an online poker bill. No wonder Cuomo is trying to distance himself from online poker for the time being.

We will have to wait until the end of June for the final outcome of the S-3898 story. So far, we know that the bill has to go through three Assembly committees before the final vote. Anything is possible, but, if everything goes as on the Committee voting, New Yorkers will have regulated gambling soon enough. Pretlow is a slight optimist regarding the outcome of the voting in the following month or so, but also states that it might happen that New York’s poker players may have to wait one more year, if the bill doesn’t reach the floor vote.

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