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NY Online Poker Optimism Grows As Crucial Lawmaker Pretlow Signals Intention To ‘Get It Done’

NY legal poker online bill

Recent developments in New York state seem to indicate there is a very real possibility the state will legalize online poker this year.

Previously New York has been a state on the fringes of iPoker, often considering it, but never really making much headway.

Now, the support of Assemblymember J. Gary Pretlow has the issue moving forward full steam ahead.

Pretlow gives lengthy interview vocalizing his support

Pretlow has previously been a critic of online poker. He has categorized it as a skill game, and expressed concern over problem and underage gambling.

Pretlow gave an interview with local New York station FiOS1 last week and walked back much of his criticism.

He met with regulators in the state of New Jersey, where online poker is legal, and saw how technology geolocates, age verifies, and ensures fairness on online poker sites.

After being satisfied with what he saw, Pretlow is now actively campaigning to bring online poker to the state.

Interviewer Andrew Whitman asked Pretlow if he changed his mind about poker’s classification as a game of skill vs. a game of chance.

“What I have to say to get it done is what we say to get it done,” Pretlow replied.

It does appear Pretlow intends to get this done. He is the chairman of the Racing and Wagering Committee and a key person to offer support to the online poker measure.

Currently identical NY online poker bills in Senate and Assembly

Pretlow sponsored a bill in the Assembly that is an exact word-for-word copy of a bill introduced in the state Senate.

Last June, a version of the bill passed in the Senate by an overwhelming majority, but failed to go anywhere in the Assembly.

The Senate finance committee already unanimously approved the bill, which is the first hurdle in getting the bill passed into law. The next obstacles should be easier than in the past, at least according to Pretlow:

When I do sign off on something, my colleagues feel that it is a good deal and they don’t question why I made a certain decision. They know that if that decision was made, it’s for good reason.

So I don’t really see there’s going to be much opposition to moving this along.

The bill(s) would allow up to 11 licensed online poker providers. Each provider would pay a $10 million licensing fee.

The operations would be taxed at a rate of 15 percent.

The bill also leaves open room to form interstate compacts with other states offering online poker, like neighboring New Jersey. Interstate compacts would allow states to share liquidity, increasing the player pool.

New Yorkers who want to help push the legislation through should reach out to their local representatives to voice their support of the bills. You can do so using this easy tool.

With online poker on the front burner, now is the time to act to help bring online poker to the state.

Jessica Welman

About

Jessica Welman is a longtime member of the poker media. She has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the Managing Editor for WSOP.com. A graduate of the University of Southern California and Indiana University, Welman is not only a writer but also a producer. She has been involved for livestreams for the WSOP and WPT and worked as a consultant on many other poker productions. She can be found on Twitter @jesswelman.