Online poker’s hopes in New York this year aren’t dead. The problem is the issue is far from a priority. In fact, with several far more pressing issues, the NY casino industry already has plenty on its plate.
What does not help online poker’s hopes is that there is no money earmarked in the state budget from online poker tax revenue. In other words, no one expects online poker to pass as a law this year, or else the cash-strapped state would have made a note of the money it would generate.
NY budget does not include sports betting or online poker
The best hope for online poker this year is to piggyback its way into regulation on sports bettings’ coattails. The budget, which passed at the end of last month, indicates online poker on its own is basically a lost cause this year.
The Senate tried to include online poker and sports betting money in the budget, but the Assembly and Gov. Andrew Cuomo would not budge on the matter.
Now, as you may know, there is an existing sports betting law on the books. However, unsure how the Supreme Court will rule in New Jersey’s sports betting case this summer, the state did not count any chickens including it in the budget.
However, should sports betting laws change at the federal level, the New York law will need clarification before it can go into effect. Moreover, there will likely be talks about mobile wagering, which is the likely point to tie online poker into the puzzle as well.
Until then though, all online poker advocates can really do is wait and hope that SCOTUS decides to overturn the federal ban on sports wagering.
NY budget does not include a casino bailout either
The absence of online poker revenue wasn’t the only omission in the budget relevant to casinos. Despite pleas from both del Lago and Rivers Schenectady, the government stood pat on its stance not to help out the ailing commercial casinos.
It turns out del Lago was not the only casino seeking help. Rivers hoped to reduce its payments to the state in order to use the money towards marketing efforts. No lawmakers were sympathetic to the properties’ plights. Cuomo was particularly harsh with his words for the casinos:
“The upstate gaming casinos are private concerns. They bid, they made an investment and some of them will say they’re not doing as well as they hoped or would have expected but they’re private concerns, and I don’t want to get into the business of bailing out private concerns.
“We did casino gaming to create facilities, generate economic development to create jobs and it has done that. These facilities have done billions of dollars of construction and they employ thousands of people. So to the extent you have a casino saying ‘You know what … I’m not meeting my expectations, I should get help from the state,’ I’m not sympathetic to that.”
Given his words, and the lack of sympathy from within the local gaming industry, it was fairly unsurprising the casinos’ desperate pleas did not result in any financial help. It looks like, on multiple fronts, NY gambling proponents are on the outside of the budget looking in this year.