It seems as though online poker will not be an entity within New York, despite passing a Senate vote back in January. This vote was passed for the third year in a row, but internet gambling was left out of the state’s budget in the end – serving New York citizens with gaming desires another crushing blow. As it stands, New Yorkers currently have to drive across the border into New Jersey in order to legally access online poker and other games – something which looks like it will continue.
Pennsylvania became the fourth US state to legalise internet gaming last year and the poker community of the country hoped that other states would follow in suit. However, California was the first to negate any sort of internet gambling and now New York has done the same. In fact, the issue of online poker is said to not even be a talking point in California this year, according to state Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer.
Even though the Senate of New York has shown quite a vested interest in legalising online poker, having passed a bill to facilitate such on three separate occasions, the Assembly hasn’t held those same views. Voting on such has never even taken place before, which is a bit of a shame considering land-based casinos in New York aren’t really reaching lofty heights in terms of revenue.
The Empire State is home to four different non-tribal establishments, all of which aren’t particularly in great shape financially. The Del Lago Resort which opened in Seneca County and was built for $440 million recently is already in debt and has asked the state to be bailed out. The casino expected to generate about $263 million in its first year of operation. However, it fell short of this expectation by around $100 million!
The New York Assembly Responds
In response to the request for a bailout, state Senator John DeFrancisco said that the developer of the Del Lago Resort was pushing to have a New York casino for years. Therefore, if he’s losing money from it, “that’s his problem to fix, not the taxpayers”. It’s still unclear as to whether or not the state will eventually end up bailing the casino out, but it’s certain that the four land-based casinos won’t be benefitting from online poker or casino games anytime soon.
In actuality, New York has more of a focus on its taxi drivers than anything else right now. A $168 billion budget was signed over the weekend by Governor Andrew Cuomo, including a surcharge on Uber rides in Manhattan. This does provide funding for the state’s public houses, but online poker wasn’t something that was included. The budget makes it more difficult for Uber rides to be affordable within New York, meaning that taxy companies should hugely benefit from such. New York’s subway system and City Housing Authority also benefit from the new budget too.
It seems as though one of the biggest losers of the New York state budget remains as its poker players.