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New Yorkers who looking forward to online poker being legalized in the state might be waiting even longer thanks to a new bill that seeks to study the effects of gambling. A00591, the bill in question, is seeking to “commission a statewide evaluation regarding the extent of gambling by New York state residents.” One of the reasons is because, as it turns out, the people of New York rank just outside the top 33 percent of the states that were highlighted for problem gambling or gambling addiction – these were the results of a WalletHub study that was conducted of the last year.

Even though 33 percent might seem to be a relatively small number, it was apparently high enough to prompt lawmakers in New York to dig deeper into the issue. Now, the proposed study is being fronted by Linda Rosenthal, a Democrat who is part of the New York State Assembly. All this started on January 9 when the bill was pre-filed after which it was referred to the Committee on Alcohol and Drug Abuse which voted unanimously (13-0) on January thus advancing the proposal to the Ways and Means Committee.

Should the proposed bill be passed into law, the New York State Gaming Commission would be required to take a comprehensive look at all aspects of gambling in the state including sports betting, online betting, poker, the lottery as well as the state’s casinos.  Some of the information that the state’s lawmakers wish to obtain is the percentage of the state’s residents who gambler and the amount of money that may be lost while participating in gambling activities. In addition to this, the study is expected to deliver a breakdown of the findings of the study according to sex, race, age, level of education and, of course, income.

The Implications

Unfortunately, the language in the bill sets the date of completion of the bill to December 1, 2023, which is a considerably long time for New York which was among the states that were at the forefront of the online poker revolution in the United States. It will unlikely that any online poker expansions will be pursued until the study finally comes to an end.

The proposed study has effectively sideline or even completely eliminated the prospect of S 18, an online poker bill that was introduced earlier this year by Senator Joseph Addabbo – the senator hoped to have a bill that would legalize online poker. The state would then be able to reap the benefits of such a bill by requiring the operators to part with a $10 million licensing fee followed by a 15 percent tax. Revenue aside, these regulations were also expected to wade off illegal gaming operators by offering the gamblers some legal alternatives.

Still, it is worth noting that even if the bill was not put on the sidelines due to the new study, it would still have trouble due to the recent reinterpretation of the 1961 Wire Act by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ).