Bill To Legalize Online Poker In New York Gets Support And Momentum

New York has continued to fight hard over the last few years to legalize online poker but it always looked like an uphill task. That could change in 2018 as the Assembly version of the bill is expected to get a lot more support and votes this time around.

Assembly Bill 5250 is the bill that is pushing to legalize online poker in New York and has been in the Assembly since 2017. Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, the bill’s sponsor was only able to advance the bill through his Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee last June and this year the bill was not included in the budget.

However, there is still growing support and confidence amongst New York legislators who expect the bill to get a new push.

The bullish attitude towards the bill emanates from New York Assemblyman Clyde Vanel, chairman of the Subcommittee on Internet and New Technology. He believes that the 13 co-sponsors of Pretlow’s bill will grow and probably reach 60 to 70 as they move the bill forward this year.

Vanel emphasizes that online poker has been around in New York for a long period of time and because it is illegal in the state, unlicensed operators profit from offering illegal online poker services to New Yorkers. Vanel is clear that the best course of action to protect its citizens from unlicensed operators it to legalize and regulate the online poker industry. This will also boost state revenues as they will benefit from online gaming taxes.

In fact, it’s only the Assembly that’s stopping New York from getting online poker legalized. The Senate’s version of the bill S3898, introduced by Sen. John Bonacic, was recently passed through the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee. Vanel says that if he can pass the bill through the Assembly, doing it in the Senate will be easier.

Assemblyman Vanel Working Hard To Swing Votes

Vanel is making sure he’s approaching each Assemblyman to reason out with them and get them to support online poker legalization. He believes that it is just a matter of convincing those with a neutral opinion on online poker and reasoning out with those opposed to gambling that regulation is better than no regulation.

In a statement, Vanel said,

I explain to folks that gambling is legal in New York State… If we regulate it, we can better control the good actors in our state and try to address the bad actors. If we don’t regulate it, we still cannot stop folks from participating online.