New York online poker bill dies of neglect for second year in a row

TAGs: Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania

new-york-assembly-fails-online-pokerNew York’s legal online poker hopes appear to have died of neglect in the state Assembly for the second year in a row.

The New York state legislature wrapped up the final day of its legislative session on Wednesday without the Assembly taking any action on the online poker bill the state Senate approved last week.

Some other, more important issues also went unresolved, and lawmakers suggested they may reconvene for a brief period this summer to address issues like mayoral control over New York City schools, but the Assembly’s inaction certainly appears to have doomed Sen. John Bonacic’s S-3898 poker bill to the ash heap of history and the state’s online poker players to (at least) another year of legal limbo.

The Assembly’s reluctance to tackle the online poker issue was telegraphed earlier this week when Assemblyman Gary Pretlow told the New York Daily News that there’d been “some opposition” to the poker bill coming up for a vote.

In words that will seem awfully familiar to poker players who grieved over Pretlow’s inability to produce an Assembly vote on last year’s poker bill, the Assemblyman said legislators would “pick [the poker issue] up next year more than likely.”

Pretlow had been blowing hot and cold all year regarding online poker’s prospects in the Assembly, first saying he expected less resistance this year, then signaling that poker’s opponents remained as obstructionist as ever. Depending on one’s level of cynicism, Pretlow’s seesaw act appears tailor made for boosting lobbying activity on both sides of this issue for yet another year.

With New York out of the running, that leaves just Pennsylvania and Illinois as the only states that could potentially approve online gambling bills this year. Pennsylvania legislators are wrestling with how to resolve two very different approaches to gambling expansion and it’s anyone’s guess which plan – if any – will be approved by June 30, the deadline for legislators to craft a new budget.

The Illinois state Senate approved an online gambling and daily fantasy sports bill in late May, and the House Executive Committee has scheduled a meeting on Saturday to discuss that bill as well as a standalone DFS bill. The legislature began a special session on Wednesday that could last 10 days, meaning Illinois online gamblers will know their fate by month’s end.


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