Online Poker Bills Stir as New York Legislative Session Begins

New York Online Poker Bills Still in Play

With the New York legislative session beginning the two bills – A 5250 and S 3898, the Senate version that passed that chamber in June 2017, returns to the Senate. Though they do not start off from where they left off, they are now back in the Gaming, Racing and Wagering Committee.

Although the Assembly had never taken up the Senate version, the Assembly version made it through one committee vote, which now sits in the Codes Committee. This isn’t a recent attempt to pass a bill for online poker. It has been on the legislature’s radar for several years. Twice it has made it passed the Senate, and made it through that chamber in 2016.

Even though progress has been slow in the past to move online poker forward, there is reason to believe that there will be further progress in 2018.

New York’s 2018 Budget in Deficit

New York’s predicted deficit stands in excess of $4 billion. New York is concentrating on online gambling at the moment, unlike Pennsylvania, which legalized online casino games that will generate much greater revenue, as opposed to online poker, which is what New York is currently considering. Revenue received from the sales of licenses, and the taxation of online poker will do little to bridge the gap in the budget.

Online gambling has proven to be a good advertising tool to gain new customers, as well as gaining back inactive casino players. Online Poker will easily generate revenue for the state that can be used to assist new casinos, which are still trying to gain their footing to meet the projected revenue.

US online poker is improving, and the climate is right for improvement, with New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada having entered into an interstate compact, which will allow for the pooling of online poker players from the three states. Pennsylvania may join this compact later this year.

The NJ online poker market itself is generating approximately $2 million in revenue alone. If New York were to join the interstate pact, then the potential exists to create an online poker community larger than California.

Regarding the shortfall in New York’s budget Gov. Andrew Cuomo quoted in his state of the state address:

With a projected $4 billion budget deficit, we will have to make important decisions this legislative session. I am committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and in both houses, to see that the people’s business is done.

Perhaps 2018 will be the year that online gambling gains real ground.

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