The contentious issue of legalising online poker in the state of New York is still in the discussion stages, as the legislature’s adjournment deadline looming. The push to legalize online poker in the Empire State has made a significant amount of progress in recent years but still needs a further push to become law.
The New York Senate seemed hospitable to the idea of online poker when it was first announced as a potential inclusion in the budget plans of 2013. In the end however, it didn’t end up being added. There has been some hope recently that the proposed bill might begin to be seriously considered again. The Senate Finance Committee is due to hold a meeting this Thursday (2nd June) that will involve the consideration of Senator John Bonacic’s proposed online poker bill. This bill passed Bonacic’s senate committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering back in February this year, but it has remained at a standstill ever since then. No action has been taken on the Assembly side with a companion bill from Assembly member Gary Pretlow. When he asked about the fate of his online poker bill, Pretlow was not overly optimistic about its chances in light of the approaching deadline – “I am very interested in the issue, but I don’t think we can get it done in the next two weeks,” Pretlow said in an interview with the Legal Sports Report. The new development does not come as a shock to the Senator, who already had predicted fairly long odds of its success on the Assembly floor.
The bill has a deadline. The New York legislature is due to adjourn on the 16th of June — which gives the supporters of the iPoker bill just nine legislative days to encourage the passing of the legislation. It will have to be passed by the statehouse and then moved on to the governor. If internet poker is going to be legalised in New York this year, it needs to happen fast. If Pretlow’s bill somehow gets successfully pushed through the NY Senate, it’s at least plausible that it will get a look in the Assembly. The New York online poker market could potentially be worth over $120 million in the first 12 months after launch, according to industry estimates. A tax rate of 15 percent has been proposed, in addition to initial licensing fees paid to the state.
If the bill doesn’t materialize this year then next year could the year for it. There will most likely be a real push in 2017 for the legalisation of online poker. Some developments have been promising, like that fact that the New York Gaming Association have went from neutral stance to vocal supporters of online poker regulation. Next year could bode well for online poker’s future.