On Wednesday, a widely viewed and anticipated hearing that was focused on the future of sports betting in New York went down. At the hearing, the stakeholders explicitly discussed whether or not to authorize mobile betting on sporting activities in the near future. With the state’s sports betting already on tap, the lawmakers have now had to take a hard look at online wagering – it is already anticipated that sports betting in the Empire State will go beyond just land-based sportsbooks.
Even though it is impossible to deny the fact that sports betting market in New York has huge potential, it is worth remembering that just a few years ago, the state had its sights set on a different form or online gambling, that is, online poker. Since 2012, the issue of the legalization of online poker has been floated around the legislature on multiple occasions – in most times, the state Senate passed the legislation only for its to die in the Assembly.
Is Online Poker Still on the Table?
While the failure of the online poker bills felt like a distant memory during the Wednesday online sports betting hearing, there may still be some hope for the online gaming vertical. This might be partly because of the fact that the lawmaker who is championing the online sports betting bill is the same one who fronted the online poker bill that was filed in January. State Sen. Joseph Addabbo, the lawmaker, was handed the online poker bill’s baton by Sen. John Bonacic who retired late last year.
Now, even though shifting the state’s focus to sports betting, online casino gaming regulations in New York is still a great idea. The state’s residents seem to be all for it and there are already experienced and reputable online gaming providers lurking around in preparation of a possible online poker future.
What About the Wire Act?
At the beginning of the year, the United States Department of Justice issued a reinterpreted opinion of the 1961 Wire Act that made the law apply to all forms of online gambling instead of just sports betting as it previously was. This, in essence, put the online poker liquidity sharing arrangement between states in the legal crosshair and even though the new law is yet to be enforced it is having profound effects on some states.
In New York, the online poker bill calls for the state’s gaming regulators to enter into partnership agreements with other states where online poker is legal so that they can build a collective play pool. This will definitely have to change when the new Wire Act opinion comes into force.