Will Online Poker Come to New York in 2020?

Lawmakers in New York once again have the opportunity to think about on-line poker legislation this year. Following a total lack of progress through 2019, a relevant bill from Sen. Joseph Addabbo is back on file for 2020.

That alone is hardly a cause for optimism, though. Lawmakers in the Empire State have filed bills to legalize online poker every year because 2014 without anything to show for it.

Michigan and West Virginia, meanwhile, each managed to legalize on-line poker in 2019.

The NY on-line poker bill remains unchanged from its introduction in 2019, and the terms are fairly straightforward.

If passed, S 18 would basically remove poker in the list of prohibited games of opportunity in New York. The state Constitution prohibits such games with limited exceptions, such as the regulated commercial casino industry that spawned in 2013. The enabling law does not, however, include any authorization for online gambling.

Addabbo’s bill would authorize as much as 11 licenses for NY on-line poker, every valid for 10 years at a price of $10 million apiece. The state would tax income at a rate of 15%, which falls in line with New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and it holds both regulated and unregulated sites accountable for those taxes.

There’s no express “bad actor” clause among the suitability provisions that would preclude sites like PokerStars from operating within the state.

The bill did not move last year, so it’s as soon as once more assigned to the Gaming, Racing and Wagering Committee that Addabbo chairs. A matching bill (A 4924) from Assemblyman Gary Pretlow can also be reassigned to his corresponding committee in the reduce chamber.

Addabbo and Pretlow have turn out to be the two champions of gaming legislation in New York, though progress has been utterly elusive. Pretlow’s involvement dates back towards the beginning, whilst Addabbo took the reins from retired Sen. John Bonacic last year.

Although NY sports betting is now up and running in a regulated atmosphere, its approval stems from that same 2013 law. And the sponsors have, within the years since, repeatedly failed to expand the provisions for gaming within the state.

Exactly the same inaction that has scuttled on-line sports betting has pumped the brakes on other forms of gambling – such as online poker. None from the sponsors’ efforts surrounding on-line gambling, sports betting, or casino expansion have come to fruition previously seven years.

New Yorkers are rightly pessimistic about their probabilities of expanded, contemporary gambling legislation this year.

Addabbo and Pretlow have spent the last two years working to extend the sports betting provisions to include online/mobile wagering with absolutely nothing to show for their efforts. A lack of support within the Assembly and a headstrong governor espousing constitutional issues have left the majority of NY bettors with out easy access to a regulated outlet.

The nearest legal sportsbook to a population center is much more than an hour north of New York City.

What perhaps is the most regarding for the prospects of poker is that the sponsors’ focus has totally shifted to sports – and rightly so. The revenue expectation for poker pales in comparison to the potential haul from on-line sports betting within the state.

In addition to his efforts surrounding sports betting, Addabbo can also be keen on opening up new casino licenses for the downstate properties in and around NYC. That would, for one thing, bring MGM into the conversation with its new home in Yonkers. And it may represent the best chance for poker to sneak via.

Barring something unexpected, though, it’d be sensible to temper your expectations for NY on-line poker in 2020.

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