The $154 billion New York budget proposal contains the possibility that online poker could be legalised and regulated to bring more money into the coffers of the state.
Will New York legalise online poker?
I’m not sure about that, but the paperwork that will ultimately force the state to see sense is still causing paper cuts throughout the halls of political power in the Big Apple.
Senators and Assemblymen who support the legalisation and regulation of online poker have been throwing bills at archaic institutions with more frequency than Phil Taylor throws his darts at that sliver of red.
Most of them eventually miss the board.
The politicians walk over, pick them up, tighten them up, and go back to the oche to throw them again. It’s not a strategy that’s been working very effectively. Or perhaps it is? Perhaps we have to eat slowly away at the cliff face over time?
The one bill that’s currently battering that cliff face is S 5302. Submitted in May 2015 by Senator John Bonacic it passed the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee by a vote of 9-0 in Feb 2016. Bonacic is the chairman of that committee. The next stage was for the bill to find its way to the Senate Financial Committee for further eyeballing and that’s where it remains.
Speaking about that move at the time Poker Players Alliance (PPA) Executive Director, John Pappas urged the Finance Committee ‘to move quickly to usher legislation through the Senate.’
That didn’t happen, but what has happened is the New York Senate has included the wording of the bill in their $154 billion budget bill due for a rubber stamp in April. It could be significant. It might not. Perhaps, it’s included with a barrage of other potential cash generators on a ‘just in case’ basis, or they could be seriously considering the $10m license fees and 15% taxation that online poker would generate.
The Stars Are Aligning
OK, I know my only understanding of politics comes from House of Cards, but I don’t believe online poker is illegal in the state of New York because there is a fear New Yorkers will suddenly develop gambling addictions. There will be something else at work.
Take Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) as an example. The sport has exploded on a global level in recent years, and everyone except the most hardened boxing fan has to admit that the art of the pugilist has turned into a tickling contest when compared to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
However, New York is the only state in the US where MMA is illegal. Here’s the best bit and why I loathe politics so much. The story presented regarding the illegality of MMA is one of barbarity. However, UFC president Dana White has a different view, and one I think carries a lot of weight. Speaking to europe.newsweek.com White said of the ban:
“It has nothing to do with mixed martial arts. It has to do with the Culinary Union. The Culinary Union is spending millions of dollars of all these people who pay dues to keep us out of there because my partners, the Fertitta brothers, are the largest non-union gaming company in the country.”
It seems someone may have done something to please the Culinary Union because the State Assembly recently passed a bill to legalize the sport, and it reportedly has the backing of New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.
While online poker might not have the strength to bring the cliff walls crashing down. The persistent battering of online poker, MMA and Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) might do the job. Regulation of DFS is also included in April’s budget plan.
In an article written by the New York Times, Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell, a Democrat who opposes the MMA bill said: “When will it stop? When will we simply say: ‘You know what? We don’t have to go along with every other state?”
And if the real reasons behind the lock down on online poker and DFS was because of fears of gambling problems, and the lock down on MMA was the fear of people putting ankle locks on strangers in the street, then he would have a point.
But it’s not is it?
Some people think it’s about money.
I tend to side with Frank Underwood’s view on things:
“Money is the Mc-mansion in Sarasota that starts falling apart after 10 years. Power is the old stone building that stands for centuries. I cannot respect someone who doesn’t see the difference.”