The number of co-sponsors for the New York State bill to license and regulate online poker is about to rise. This is according to New York Assemblyman Clyde Vanel.
Vanel is the chair of the Subcommittee on Internet and New Technology for New York. Assemblyman Gary Pretlow‘s legislation bill A 5250 to authorize online poker sites is expected to move from 13 co-sponsors to around 60-70, per Vanel.
The increase in co-sponsors is a great sign, Vanel told Online Poker Report this week.
“Chairman Pretlow is a great champion for it, and now he has the partners to bring it through,” Vanel said. “The next few weeks will show some traction for the bill. With enough co-sponsors, I like it to get out of committee and onto the floor. I think we have a good shot of getting it through this year.”
Magic number within a shot
The number of co-sponsors required to pass a bill in New York is 76. Per Vanel, this total is soon to be within reach. The bill would not reach the Assembly floor until the end of the legislative session in June, even if 76 co-sponsors are added. Should the bill gain the co-sponsors expected by Vanel, the New York leadership group will have to take a serious look at the bill.
“My job is that I’m the guy who is going to whip these votes. That’s what I’m doing. I’m working these votes to get the bill on the floor, and I will be whipping votes on the floor,” Vanel said.
As is the case with most online poker bills, Vanel suggests New York constituents contact their Assembly representatives. Vanel says voter supports helps his case to whip votes and add co-sponsors to the NY online poker bill.
“We need pressure from the outside, too,” Vanel said. “There has to be momentum and push on the inside and outside. We need to show that there’s voices out there other than people opposed to wagering, and they are respectable poker players who we are depriving opportunities.”
Vanel first took office as a new Assemblyman at the end of 2016. Right away upon being enlisted on the Subcommittee on Internet and New Technology, Vanel cited regulated online poker as a potential asset for the state.
“I want New York to be in a position where we’re leading the country in internet and new technology,” Vanel said. “This is an area where we can improve. We have poker in New York but we’re not allowing it online. Folks can’t articulate why. Our house has been the stopping point. If it gets through our house, it will have no problem getting through the Senate.”
Building an edge
Vanel empirical research finds that the opponents of the online bill are adverse to gambling as a whole. It is Vanel’s belief that the majority of lawmakers are in favor of or neutral to online poker.
The argument Vanel is making against those who are opposed is one of factual evidence stating the gambling already existing in New York.
“When I explain to folks that gambling is legal in New York State, that we have casinos, racinos and a lottery, and people can now buy their lottery tickets online and bet on horses online, it’s hard for people to push back and say why we don’t have online poker,” Vanel said. “If we properly regulate it, that quells all the concerns opponent have against it. Some people, I’ve learned, are not going to change their minds, and I’d rather work on people who can get it.”
Vanel adds that land-based casinos would receive a boost from the online poker influx. Similar to casinos in New Jersey, New York casinos will gain licenses for online poker.
“It’s good policy for New York State,” Vanel said. “Not only can we protect our consumers from the unscrupulous websites that will take your money offshore and provide no recourse, but we can help protect people with problems by having safeguards, and help our casinos that aren’t making enough.”
Make your voice heard
As Vanel said, he can’t do this alone. The voice of poker players will make a difference. Visit PlayNY.com to learn how to contact New York State lawmakers via email, phone and social media. Every message to your local representative can go a long way.