Bill leading to legal online poker in New York showing life?

Late last month when the state budget was announced in the state of New York, it looked like the chances of online poker coming to the state in 2018 were all but dead. The budget did not include any revenue from online poker, leading poker players in the state to think it would be at least another year before regulated, legal online poker could come to the Empire State.

However, reports earlier this week have shown those thoughts may have been short-sighted. A bill looking to help bring legal online poker to New York passed in the senate earlier this year, as one has for the last three years. The bill, again as it had the last three years, died when it reached the House of Assembly, which refused to vote on it.

The Assembly may be ready to finally change its tune on online poker with Bill A5250 currently in the House. The bill, brought forth by Gary Pretlow, “Allows certain interactive poker games be considered games of skill rather than games of luck; includes definitions, authorization, required safeguards and minimum standards, the scope of licensing review and state tax implications; makes corresponding penal law amendments.” In layman’s terms, it would make poker a game of skill, not of luck, a first step needed to get to legal online poker in the state.

Vanel says support for bill is growing

Currently Bill A5250 has only a few sponsors, leading most to speculate it would suffer the same fate as previous online poker bills brought to the Assembly. However, in a report earlier this week, state Assemblyman Clyde Vanel said that the number of sponsors for the bill is set to increase substantially and New Yorkers should keep a close eye on the Assembly in coming weeks.

Vanel, the chair of the subcommittee on internet and new technology, stated he expects the number of co-sponsors of the bill to quickly swell to anywhere from 60 to 70. The bill currently has only 13 co-sponsors. Vanel also pointed out if history means anything, if an online poker bill can get through the Assembly, it should have no trouble getting through the state senate.

Even if the bill were able to get the 76 co-sponsors it needs, it would likely still not reach the Assembly floor until sometime in June. Poker players in New York should keep an eye on the Assembly this summer as their wish for legal online poker in the state could finally be granted.