As New York’s 2018 legislative session begins, two online poker bills have found their way back on the table – bills A 5250 and S 3898 will return to the state’s legislative house albeit not in the same way they were in the previous session.
The Senate version of the bill – which passed the chambers in June – is set to return to the Senate and this time, according to legislative tracking, it will now be in the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee. While this Senate version of the bill was not taken up by the Assembly, the Assembly version went through one committee vote and now sits in the Codes Committee. For the past decade or so, the legislature has been keen on online poker – not only has it passed the Senate twice but it also made it through the chamber in 2016.
How Soon Can It Go Through?
This is the question in everybody’s mind especially because of the immense amount of will and support directed towards ensuring that online poker is moved quickly during the earlier stages of the legislative sessions. 2018 holds a lot of promise since in the past few years a significant level of progress has been made. For instance, both times that online poker passed the Senate it did so regardless of unbalanced margins and thus unless a drastic change occurs, it is likely that online poker can pass the Senate at any point.
“Part of the reason nothing happens in the early part of the session is we have to get committees up and running again and start from scratch,” Pretlow said. “That will not be the case here. I hope to address the bill in February,” Assembly member J. Gary Pretlow told Online Poker Report. The legislator sponsors the Assembly version and doubles up as the chair of the chamber’s gaming committee.
A Solution to New York’s Money Problem?
Several states started the new year with budget problems with New York’s projected deficit amounts to a whopping $4 billion. While depending on revenue from licensing and taxation of online poker in New York would not really amount to a significant dollar figure, the state is considering it simply because it is an easy way of generating revenue. Furthermore, it will also bail out New York’s new commercial casinos that are yet to find their footing in regards to satisfying the projected revenue anticipations. New York’s entry into the online poker business represents the potential for a larger market that in turn gives very exciting revenue projections.
According to Senator John Bonacic who is the sponsor of the Senate version of the bill, the decisions made during this legislative session would need to take the $4 billion deficit into consideration. Still, the outcomes of the hearing of these bills are still rather hard to predict – it is just another season of waiting.