New York and Pennsylvania Strive to Move Forward With Online Gambling BillsPublished February 26, 2017 by Elana K
New York Assemblyman Gary Pretlow has expressed optimism that his online poker bill will be passed this year, and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has acknowledged that online gambling could be a large potential revenue stream for the struggling state.
It seems like both Pennsylvania and New York are moving forward with their initiative to legalize online gambling in their respective states. New York Assemblyman Gary Pretlow has expressed optimism that his online poker bill will be passed this year, and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has acknowledged that online gambling could be a large potential revenue stream for the struggling state.
In an interview with FiOS, Assemblyman Gary Pretlow explained that his concerns regarding online poker have been allayed. Those concerns were: the fairness of the games, the efficiency of geolocation technology, and the categorization of poker as a game of skill as opposed to a game of chance.
At this point, in addition to Pretlow’s bill, there is also Senator John Bonacic’s online gambling bill on the table. The bills are similar; they both include provisions clarifying poker as a game of skill (not chance), authorize up to 11 operator licenses, require a licensing fee and tax rate, and require players to be 21 years of age.
Each bill has the option to be pushed forward on its own, or attached to the overall budget. New York's 2017 legislative session ends on June 21, so there are still a number of months to turn this bill into law.
Governor Wolf’s Outlook on Online Gambling in Pennsylvania
In a recent Live Q&A session held on Facebook, Governor Wolf said that the state is looking into online gambling as a possible answer to the state’s budget deficit. But he expressed concern that online gambling might take away from Pennsylvania casinos and lotteries, from which the state already earns revenue.
At this time, the Pennsylvania state legislature is trying to schedule a joint committee hearing for the House and Senate regarding a number of gambling provisions, including online gambling. The hearing was supposed to take place two weeks ago, but was canceled. Lawmakers are trying to reschedule, as it is thought that a joint hearing might speed up the process of approval.