New York Lawmaker Would Trade Online Poker For Sports Betting

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on December 8, 2018 - Last Updated on September 13, 2022

A key New York lawmaker is willing to sacrifice one form of gaming if it means introducing sports betting

NY Assemblyman Gary Pretlow told Online Poker Report on Tuesday that he would give up his pursuit for online poker if it meant his constituents would be on board with sports betting.

Here is what Pretlow is saying:

“I would give up online poker for sports betting. If I had to make a choice, I would choose this over online poker just because the revenue stream is so much better doing this than online poker.”

To be clear, Pretlow is not pushing for an either-or scenario. According to OPR, when it comes to priorities going into the 2019 legislative session, Pretlow views sports betting as higher on the list.

Online poker sacrifice

As Chairman of the Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee, Pretlow has been on a three-year crusade attempting to pass online poker legislation.

In 2016, the NY Senate was able to fulfill their side of the bargain and pass online poker legislation. However, Pretlow was unable to convince his colleagues that poker was a game of skill.

Troubles rolled over to 2017 when Pretlow had concerns over geolocation and anti-cheating technology.

By the end of the 2018 legislative session, Pretlow managed to get 51 Assembly members to co-sponsor an online poker bill. However, the NY Senate failed to pass their version of a bill.

Sports betting revenue

The billion-dollar sports betting industry gives Pretlow a bit of leverage.

“Online poker, I think the revenue for the state is projected at $20-25 million, while (sports betting) is $150 million minimum. I have a much better argument for sports betting,” Pretlow told OPR.

Neighboring New Jersey has continued to reap the benefits of legalized sports wagering.

According to figures from the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement, the Garden State has seen:

  • $597,368,230 – YTD total NJ sports betting handle
  • $51,964,303 – YTD total NJ sports betting revenue 

In October alone, NJ saw $1,158,853 in tax revenue while casino properties recorded $8,839,162 in gaming revenue. 

To date, there are nine active sportsbooks in New Jersey plus eight online sportsbook apps.

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Hold up in New York

Currently, sports betting is legal at New Yorks four upstate commercial casinos. But NY gaming regulators have yet to craft regulations to govern sports wagering.

Should the state want to capitalize on the online aspect, a new bill would have to be introduced in the upcoming legislative session.

When sports betting finally does arrive in the Empire State, all four casinos will be ready. Each property has reached an agreement with a gaming operator to run both a retail and online sportsbook.

Nicholaus Garcia Avatar
Written by
Nicholaus Garcia

Nick comes from West Texas where he graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in psychology. After a five-year stint in Chicago, where he wrote about local politics and graduated with a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia College Chicago, he moved to Washington, D.C. to write about issues related to gambling policy, sports betting and responsible gaming.

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