The state of New York definitely seems to have the legalisation of online poker firmly in its mind – or, at least, Gary Pretlow does. The Assemblyman has submitted a second piece of legislation to ensure that the pastime becomes a legal one within the state.
As the Chairman of the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, Pretlow introduced bill A4924 just last week, which makes it the second piece of poker legislation that has been filed by state lawmakers in 2019. It was just last month that Senator Joseph Addabbo would go on to introduce bill SB18 to New York’s Senate.
In actual fact though, the two bills are pretty much the same thing, with a single key difference that stands out. The first bill by Addabbo features a “bad actor” clause, while this has been noticeably removed from Pretlow’s more recent offering. SB18 would be more likely to see some of the bigger poker companies remain on the outside of the online poker sector of New York, including giants like PokerStars.
Other than this, both of the submitted bills look to reclassify the game of poker as being something that requires skill, rather than solely being a game of chance. As with Addabbo’s bill, Pretlow’s seeks a $10 million application fee from operators looking to involve themselves in the online poker market. By reclassifying poker as a skill game, state legislature would simply bypass any need to amend current constitution.
Something else to note about Pretlow’s submitted bill, is that the language within would make it easier for New York to become a part of the interstate poker network, currently shared by New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada. It’s important to remember about the reversal of the Wire Act from recently, though.
Hurdles Remain in Online Poker’s Way
New York’s online poker scene has had staunch support from Pretlow, who has tried various times to have it legalised in the past. For the past few years though, any headway made by poker bills have seemingly come to a halt before much was passed through New York’s Assembly. It is thought that both the bill submitted by Pretlow and the one from Addabbo will suffer much the same fate.
An additional bill was introduced to the legislature last month by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, which could work against any sort of poker bill passage. Rosenthal’s bill would call for the gaming commission of New York to carry out a survey on how extensively citizens of the state actually participate in gambling. That study would go on for multiple years, serving as quite the tool for any anti-gambling lawmakers to place a halt on online gambling before any kind of results from such are presented.
The Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo has not placed his ball firmly in one court or the other, in terms of being for or against online poker. That being said, he did put forth his support for sports betting in the state’s casinos, which was actually the main driving force behind regulations coming into action for sports betting in January.