[toc]The New York state Assembly adjourned this week. They did so without taking any action on the proposed online poker bill passed by the Senate. The bill’s death is not entirely surprising though. Key lawmakers hinted the legislation was drawing thin at passage last week.
There will be no online poker bill this year. Even so, there is still reason to be optimistic, as it made it further in the legislative process than its predecessors.
Pretlow warned the bill was “drawing slim”
Before the bill officially died in committee, Online Poker Report spoke with Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow about its prospects. Pretlow chairs the Racing, Wagering, and Gaming Committee, where the bill landed after passing through the Senate.
A critic of online gambling in the past, Pretlow changed his mind and tried to push through online poker this year. He spoke candidly about the bill’s future:
“I believe they have some issues that may not be resolved by the middle of next week. I’ve heard they have some constitutional issues and disagreements over the penalties. Some people say we don’t have strong enough penalties for bad actor, while some people say the penalties are too strong.”
The bad actor amendment went into the bill after news broke of a possible political scandal involving Gov. Andrew Cuomo. A member of his 2014 campaign allegedly orchestrated a $25,000 donation from ex-Amaya CEO David Baazov. Amaya currently owns PokerStars, an online poker site which would be adversely affected by bad actor legislation.
Assembly wrapped legislative session on June 21
The bill never advanced out of Pretlow’s committee. The state Assembly wrapped up its legislative session on Wednesday. While the group managed to get through daily fantasy sports regulation in a similar spot last year, there was no such luck for online poker in 2017.
Ultimately, this was not the year for online poker in New York. Nonetheless, this year is not without its victories. Both Pretlow and Cuomo are warming to the idea of online poker in the state. Pretlow in particular is a useful supporter given his status as the chair of the relevant committee.
Moreover, next time around New York online poker supporters will have even more evidence online poker is an industry worth getting into. While the state is not interested in online casinos just yet, the numbers in a new report from the iDevelopment and Economic Association paint a very positive picture of what online gambling did for New Jersey. If there are more studies shedding light on how profitable and positive the industry is, 2018 might just be New York’s year.