In a historic move, the New York State Senate voted earlier this week to legalize online poker gambling for the first time, opening the doors for the state’s racetrack casinos to potentially partner with Las Vegas casinos. The bill was passed 53 to 5 and moved to the State Assembly.
Despite the positive movement toward legalization, The Buffalo News reported soon after that Gary Pretlow, chairman of the New York Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee, called the online poker bill “dead” – and he was right. The Assembly had less than 48 hours to agree to the bill before the legislative session ended on Thursday, June 16, and no reports suggest the bill was moved forward.
The New York State Senate’s web page for the bill has listed no action since the June 14 move from the Senate to the Assembly.
For now, it doesn’t look like New York will join New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada as the fourth state to legalize online poker.
According to the Senate’s website, the bill “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.”
Despite the bill’s stall, this is the first time any internet poker bill has passed through any state legislature since the aforementioned states legalized online gaming – a big step in the direction of legalization. Earlier this month, the bill passed through the New York Senate Finance Committee with a 20-8 vote.
Sen. John Bonacic was the one to introduce the “iPoker” bill, S5302, with the co-sponsorship of Sen. Tony Avella. After it passed through its second committee, it was praised by MGM General Counsel John McManus.
“We applaud the Senate for passing this sensible legislation that will help protect New Yorkers who have for years played online poker on unprotected, off-shore poker websites that today operate with no regulation, fraud controls, or age restrictions,” he said. “This bill will open opportunities for all providers of online poker to deliver a safe, regulated alternative.”
(Photo credit: New York State Senate, Twitter)
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