Are Online Poker, Daily Fantasy Sports A Possibility For ‘The Big Ugly’ In New York?

Dustin Gouker June 8, 2016
New York online poker DFS bills fate

Separate efforts to legalize online poker and daily fantasy sports are gaining momentum in the New York legislature.

No bill for either type of gaming is close to being sent to the governor, as this article is being written, however. That leads to this question: Could either effort end up in the “Big Ugly” — an omnibus bill with all sorts of legislation likely to be passed at the end of the session?

Where we stand on online poker

The legislature is set to adjourn on June 16. And after today, there are just four active legislative days left on the calendar.

Online poker is on “third reading” in the state Senate, meaning it can be called for a vote at any time. However, an identical bill in the Assembly has seen no action.

Previously, it looked like online poker would need a “Hail Mary” to become law, but Sen. John Bonacic was optimistic of his iPoker bill’s chances this week.

Where we stand on DFS

DFS legislation has seen committee votes in both chambers, and yesterday, reports indicated that concurrence had been reached between the Assembly and Senate versions of the bills.

But, despite momentum for both DFS and iPoker, there are hurdles to getting both standalone bills to the finish line in a little over a week. Which leads us to the Big Ugly possibility.

Big Ugly, pretty for online poker, DFS?

Putting DFS or online poker into an omnibus bill that must pass because of spending measures could eliminate the possibility of opposition halting either effort.

This possibility has been floated by a number of media outlets, including the Buffalo News:

Critics worry that all the gambling issues could be wrapped into one omnibus measure – known as a “big ugly” bill in Albany – along with unrelated and politically popular programs that would make it difficult for most lawmakers to oppose the legislation.

There seems to be a lot of support for both measures, but the logistics of passing standalone bills with a few days of the session remaining still present complications. Dumping one or both of these bills into the Big Ugly would make things less complicated.

For instance, the DFS bill still needs to make it through a Senate Finance Committee vote — a meeting has not yet been scheduled to consider it. The planned concurrence of the bills has not been formally introduced, either.

The bottom line: Don’t be surprised if regulation of either industry appears in the Big Ugly.

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