Casino Executives Show Support during New York iPoker Hearing

The state of New York is one of a handful that is interested in legalizing online poker gaming. The state has seen the introduction of online poker bills and most recently held a hearing on the subject. Just two days ago, a hearing was held by the New York Senate Standing Committee on Racing, Gaming, and Wagering to discuss a current bill and the possibility of online poker gaming. The hearing was a positive point but is just a small step in offering online poker gaming in the state.

The chairman of the committee is John Bonacic, a State Senator and sponsor of the online poker room under consideration. During the hearing, seven witnesses were on-site to testify to their thoughts of online poker gaming in the state. Casino executives showed their support as to offering online poker and how it can benefit the state.

Representatives from racinos, casinos and the Poker Players Alliance were on hand to speak of how online poker would be beneficial. On disappointing aspect of the hearing was that very few legislators were in attendance. Bonacic was the lead with only two legislators sitting beside him. After only three speakers, the legislators left, leaving Bonacic by himself. Bonacic stated the men left due to prior engagements, but it seems like little interest by legislators if only two show up and then leave before the hearing is over.

Speaking on behalf of online poker gaming, MGM Resorts International representative John McManus, stated that he feared casinos would fall behind the industry leaders without integrating online poker gaming. McManus pointed out that since online gaming has begun, the industry has thrived.

McManus stated that before 2006, the industry was similar to the Wild West since anyone could participate. Online poker exists and before Black Friday it was estimated that $1 billion was spent in the US for online poker gaming. From the perspective of MGM Resorts, a safe and regulated online poker industry is what will provide tax revenues and benefits to the state, a positive way to go.

Proponents of online poker gaming in New York as well as other states want to try and stop any efforts to stall a push for a federal ban of online gaming across the board. Leading the charge to stop online gambling is Sheldon Adelson, of the Las Vegas Sands. Adelson has been working tirelessly to try and stop online gaming, going as far as spending millions of dollars and pushing the RAWA legislation, which would ban online gaming within the United States on a federal level.

John Pappas, the Executive Director of the Poker Players Alliance, has continued to work against Adelson to see online poker gaming continue to thrive. Pappas was on hand at the hearing and stated that Adelson’s argument that operators cannot know their customers is untrue. Pappas states that online gaming providers have a wealth of information that can be used to know customers including social security numbers, credit cards and driver’s licenses.

Pappas stated that the online game tracks every activity of players while with land based casinos, players can walk in and lose a paycheck and then leave without anyone knowing. Pappas testimony is just one of several that took place in New York. However the hearing was just a preliminary one with online gaming not be passed in 2015. There is little chance that online poker can move forward in New York. Proponents will have to wait until 2016 to move forward with efforts. It will be interesting to see what happens next in the state in regards to online gaming.