This past Thursday saw the New York Senate Finance Committee approve a bill that is taking the Empire State one step closer to legalizing online poker. The bill, S5302, was introduced by Senator John Bonacic in May of 2015, and it has taken over a year for it to get to this point. Fortunately, it was approved by the Committee in a 20-8 vote, and it will now continue on to the Senate for future consideration.
Not Celebrating Just Yet
While the approval by the New York Senate Finance Committee is certainly a necessary step in the right direction, online gaming supporters are not breaking out the champagne just yet.
This may be partially due to recent reports that the sponsor of the bill himself, Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, is “pessimistic” when it comes to legalizing online poker.
It also may be due to the conspicuous lack of public hearings, which signifies that this issue isn’t really at the forefront of lawmaker’s agendas.
A More Pressing Issue
At the same time that the New York Senate Finance Committee approved Bonacic’s online poker bill, it also approved his Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) bill, which would regulate the industry in the state. DFS was shut down in New York earlier this year due to issues of legality, and Bonacic’s bill would seek to reintroduce it under careful regulatory laws.
Some pundits think that the New York Senate won’t approve an online poker bill until the issue of DFS is resolved. And because New York has a June 16 deadline for legislation, online poker might get pushed to the backburner in favor of tackling DFS. Others think that there’s no reason that the two issues can’t be handled together, as they are fairly intertwined.
While it’s hard to tell which school of thought is correct, we will all know soon enough. The clock is ticking.