New York Online Sports Betting Is Live, But What About Online Poker? ‘That’s In The Mix’

Written By Mike Mazzeo on January 14, 2022
New York Online Poker

Now that New York has legal online sports betting, many locals are wondering the same thing:

When are we getting legal online poker?

Seeking an answer, PlayNY turned to State Assemblyman Gary Pretlow.

“That’s in the mix. It’s not going to come right now. Sen. (Joe) Addabbo and I are talking about it,” Pretlow said.

“We’re looking more toward the (downstate) casino expansion first. And behind that would come online poker because it’s associated with the casinos and it’s all part of the package that we’re working on.”

Local policymakers set for busy gaming season in state legislature

Pretlow and Addabbo are already plenty busy during the 2022 state legislative budget season. They are attempting to pass a bill that would allow fixed-odds horse racing to be included on all NY sports betting apps. The same bill also would allow betting kiosks at stadiums, arenas and racetracks throughout the state.

They are also trying to get the three downstate casino licenses expedited from 2023 to 2022. One such plan includes turning VLTs Empire City-BetMGM and Resorts World-Aqueduct into full casinos. Pretlow has said that there isn’t an appetite for the third license, though, with many local policymakers staunchly against the idea of a casino in Manhattan or Brooklyn, among other locations.

Likewise, there is opposition to the return of online poker in New York after Black Friday.

“I got a lot of opposition. Anything gaming there’s opposition to it,” Pretlow said. “I have a lot of colleagues that have had really bad experiences with problem gamblers.”

Realistic expectations for NY gaming in 2022

It will take a heavy lift to get everything on the agenda accomplished. Realistically, it may not be feasible to check every box.

“We have to change legislation because the legislation right now doesn’t allow downstate expansion until 2023. If we’re going to do it in 2022, we need legislation to do that,” Pretlow said.

“(Online poker) definitely has to be legislation. Everything we do has to be legislation. And then we have to deal with the constitution that gambling in New York is illegal, as we say it is. So everything is illegal unless we say it is legal, and they have not said that online poker is legal yet.”

So what’s the best-case scenario?

“The best case is we get the downstate expansion, and that basically includes online casinos similar to what New Jersey has,” Pretlow said.

Pretlow said even before brick-and-mortar casinos were built in New York, projections were that the state was losing $10 billion a year to illegal offshore gambling. He’d like to get half of that back for the state, given that NY doesn’t allow bettors to wager on credit as illegal local and offshore operations do.

Legal online sports betting is certainly a massive step for the state. But there is hopefully more to come for players in New York.

“I mean, online poker is in the conversation on the acceleration of licensing,” Pretlow said. “Whether it stays on the table I don’t know. But it’s on the table now and part of the conversation.”

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Mike Mazzeo

Mike Mazzeo is a contributing writer for PlayNY, reporting on legal sports betting in New York while covering the potential legalization of NY online casinos and poker. He previously wrote for ESPN, the New York Daily News and The Ringer, among others.

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