New York Online Poker Bill Set For Key Committee Vote

February 1, 2016
New York Online Poker Bill Set For Key Committee Vote

New York will take its latest stab at online poker legislation on Tuesday, when a Senate committee will consider a regulatory bill.

The NY poker bill, revisited

Legislation being introduced in New York to legalize online poker is nothing new — after all, bills have been introduced several times in recent years. Those bills, however, have not gone anywhere.

All that seems ready to change this week, when the Senate Racing Gaming and Wagering Committee tackles a bill from Sen. John Bonacic, chair of the committee.

The quick succession of events in New York — a new companion bill from House gaming committee chairman J. Gary Pretlow surfaced in January, followed by the scheduling of the Senate hearing — indicates some real momentum for online poker regulation.

You can watch Tuesday’s hearing here, at 9:30 a.m. Eastern.

What’s different this time around?

Gambling Compliance (paywall) offered some insight into the latest online poker effort in the capitol. The bill will reportedly be amended on Tuesday to say online poker providers must partner with licensed land-based gaming facilities, similar to an online gambling proposal in Pennsylvania.

Earlier the bill had added language that had not appeared in past versions that would allow the $10 million licensing fee for online poker to “be applied as an offset against the taxes paid over the first thirty-six months of operation.”

At the same time, GC reported that Pretlow does not want to see online poker go into effect until new casinos in the state — three licenses were just granted in December — are operational. If that’s true, that certainly slows the timeframe on New York online poker.

At the same time, it’s hard to square that stance with Pretlow introducing his own bill a couple of weeks ago.

Online poker background in NY

Bonacic and online poker date back to 2013, when he first introduced iGaming legislation. He also offered bills in 2014 and 2015 — the latest of which was resurrected and amended for the current session of the legislature.

Momentum had been lacking in previous bills, however. None of those efforts even resulted in a committee vote. If online poker gets an up-or-down vote on Tuesday — which it appears it will — it represents a significant escalation in the state’s interest in regulating online gaming.

So far, legislation has only covered iPoker; online casino games would not be legalized.

The state is also in the middle of a deciding what to do with daily fantasy sports — which the New York attorney general has declared as illegal gambling in the state in an ongoing court battle. Several bills have been introduced, but no action has been taken past an informational hearing held late last year.

Felix Lipov /

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