February 9, 2019 3 min read


Pretlow Throws New Bridge Between Law & Poker Industry in NY

Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow has decided to join the ranks of politicians supporting poker legislation in New York openly. Endorsing the industry openly hasn’t been enough for Mr. Pretlow who’s now plunging right into the thick of it with a new poker bill.

J. Gary Pretlow and His Involvement in NY Poker so Far

Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow is no stranger to New York poker woes. He’s long been supporting the development of the sports betting industry in the state, and by extension – certain types poker games.

Let’s first recap the developments in NY poker since 2018:

In March, 2018, the Chairman of the Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering, John Bonacic introduced Senate Bill 7900, which immediately garnered endorsement from Mr. Pretlow.

Since it was introduced, SB 7900 has hit quite a few dead ends and isn’t anywhere near seeing the light of day. By December, 2018, the bill was already facing several developments bound to overturn its progress.

First, Mr. Bonacic announced his retirement. Secondly, Senate underwent a major shift in power, with the Democrats soaring to victory in the Mid-terms.

Lastly, while Mr. Pretlow did vote in favor of SB 7900, he failed to garner support from a broader coalition.

Sen. Joe Addabbo Has the Spotlight

In 2019, things started well enough with Senator Joe Addabbo revealing a new sports betting bill (that would also affect poker in a good way) on January 7. Mr. Addabbo’s SB 18 is quite simple in its nature.

It establishes the criteria qualifying an operator as worthy of the honor to do business, sets the tax and irons out how said tax would be collected. A total of six properties would be legalized and allowed to run their businesses.

While the bill has been see-sawing between endorsement and lawmakers’ apathy, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on January 18, that poker would help close a $170 billion budget hole.

The latest headlines are made by Mr. Pretlow who’s decided to build the bill on the premise that poke is a game of skill – and that it is. His proposed bill, entitled A04924, is the latest attempt to indicate the legal endorsement of poker in the state.

Still, there has been if not so much opposition, then at least apathy when it comes to sports betting, poker and other related activities, which are taking place one way or the other.

In January, Dem. Linda Rosenthal introduced her own bill, A00591, intended at sorting out how much money New York residents spend on gambling.

Many Road Signs Ahead

As it turs out, the divisive and rather busy agenda of New York legislators means that poker is not a top priority. There have been two extenuating circumstances – first the reversal of the Department of Justice opinion, and secondly – the government shutdown.

At this point it’s truly anyone’s guess what might happen and how soon. Despite the strong start in 2019, New York might need to wait until 2020 for a poker or sports betting bill.


As an avid follower of sports and the newly recognized industry of esports, Heidi uses her expertise to help the team push out the best sports content. She is also continually learning more about the gambling industry in general and pushes out a variety of content.

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