Just when it seemed like NY online poker was drawing slim on success in 2018, a new potential hero swooped in. Just days after the New York legislature passed a budget which included no online poker, a new Assemblyman has our hopes up about iPoker this year.
Meet Assemblyman Clyde Vanel
When it comes to online poker the issue has never been the state Senate. Thanks to ardent online poker champion Sen. John Bonacic, online poker bills sail through the Senate year after year with near-unanimous support.
The issue is in the Assembly. In 2017, things started to look more positive for online poker advocates. Assemblymember J. Gary Pretlow finally threw his support behind the bill. This was particularly important, as Pretlow chairs the Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee.
After being on the fence about online poker for several years, he came out championing the endeavor in 2017. Unfortunately, Pretlow claimed there was not enough support in the Assembly to call the bill up for a vote. After the bill ran out of momentum, Pretlow started to become wishy-washy when it came to iPoker.
Poker supporters in New York know that Pretlow is an important piece of the puzzle. However, they also know he is not the fighter for the cause that Bonacic is.
Enter Assemblyman Clyde Vanel.
Vanel fought hard to get online poker in the budget this year. He even managed to get 60 Democrats in the Assembly to support its inclusion. While that ultimately was not enough for the budget, Vanel hopes to spin that momentum into an Assembly bill supporting online poker. That support has Vanel optimistic about poker’s odds. He elaborated to Online Poker Report:
“Chairman Pretlow is a great champion for it, and now he has the partners to bring it through,” Vanel said. “The next few weeks will show some traction for the bill. With enough co-sponsors, I like it to get out of committee and onto the floor. I think we have a good shot of getting it through this year.”
Pretlow’s committee is an important part of passing an online poker bill. The committee Vanel chairs plays a role as well though. He is at the helm of the Subcommittee on Internet and New Technology.
“I want New York to be in a position where we’re leading the country in internet and new technology,” Vanel said. “This is an area where we can improve. We have poker in New York but we’re not allowing it online. Folks can’t articulate why.”
So what is next for online poker?
Vanel is enthusiastic, sure, but do not expect a bill to pop up overnight. Per his discussion with Online Poker Report, he estimates it will be June before a bill hits the Assembly floor.
So what do you do in the meantime?
The answer is definitely not nothing. Vanel even specifically called for the suppot of constituents in order to make online poker a reality in the Empire State. Here is what he said in his recent interview:
“We need pressure from the outside, too. There has to be momentum and push on the inside and outside. We need to show that there’s voices out there other than people opposed to wagering, and they are respectable poker players who we are depriving opportunities.”
If you recall, last year’s efforts fell apart from an alleged lack of support for the bill. Rather than let that happen again, New Yorkers need to reach out to their local lawmakers and let them know this is something they very much want.
This may sound daunting, but it is easier than you think.
Our advocacy page only needs a few pieces of information. With those, we can provide you info on who your local representative and how to contact them. We also have social media details so you can @ mention them in your posts and let them know that the state is ready to #playNY.