With online poker and gambling legislation, we’re often left with a common refrain: “Wait until next year.”
And while that’s still a sentiment that will likely be trotted out a number of times in states considering regulation, the online gambling watch is not entirely dead for 2016.
What can still happen this year? Here’s a quick rundown.
Pennsylvania: Online gambling, poker and daily fantasy sports
New revenue from gambling is being counted on to fund the state budget, and short of a massive change of heart, a gambling expansion package will include online gambling.
The legislature recently passed a bill to raise taxes on table games at land-based casinos, but that only accounts for a fraction of the revenue needed.
Daily fantasy sports will also be lumped into the gambling expansion it appears, which would give the industry legal clarity in yet another jurisdiction.
Michigan: Online gambling and poker
We haven’t seen or heard any movement on online gambling legislation in Michigan in a month and a half. The last time the bill was seen, it was passing a Senate committee vote.
But that was expected as the state dealt with other issues, including the budget. (Unlike Pennsylvania, online gambling was never tied to revenue generation to fund the government.)
The legislature doesn’t technically adjourn until the end of the year. And there’s a decent chance that the effort will be taken up again after the November elections.
While 2017 is a possibility, 2016 can’t be ruled out, either.
California: Online poker, DFS
Despite measurable progress in 2016 for online poker in California, it still seems like a longshot to be passed this year.
The legislature adjourns at the end of August, giving lawmakers precious little time to get a regulatory bill to the finish line. The bill still needs to be voted on by the full Assembly and has seen no action in the Senate.
And major still differences still need to be worked out, unless politicians and a pro-online poker coalition are willing to test the opposition’s ability to block the bill.
DFS also looks like an underdog to be passed, save for one scenario where DFS and online poker get lumped into one bill.
Other states and fantasy sports
While the above states are an exhaustive list of who could legalize online poker this year, DFS has several other avenues.
That bill just needs the signature of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Meanwhile, DraftKings, FanDuel and New York players are anxiously awaiting the return of DFS to the state.
New Jersey online poker and gambling are obviously already legal. But DFS regulation is still technically alive, and the legislature doesn’t adjourn until the end of the year.
There’s been little recent movement on DFS, however, and it is not a hot-button issue in the state this summer. But you can’t rule out the issue cropping up this year.
Massachusetts‘ legislature probably won’t take up actual regulation of DFS this year, but it is considering a commission that would look at the issue.
That would be a part of a giant spending bill that would frame the DFS industry for a closer look in 2017.
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