John Bonacic to Retire: Will Online Gaming Efforts Stall?

John Bonacic

John BonacicSenator John Bonacic is set to retire this fall and being a big proponent of online gaming, this might signal the end of efforts to see New York enter the iGaming industry.

For legislation to pass in any state, there has to be support. Many times, it takes one or a few lawmakers to push for legislation to gain enough support to be passed into law. When it comes to online gaming in New York State, Senator John Bonacic has been a strong proponent and pushed to see his state move forward with their gambling offerings. Unfortunately, Bonacic will not be seeking reelection this fall, so many wonder if online gaming efforts will slowly die away.

A Champion for Gambling

Senator Bonacic has held his position within the New York State Senate for two decades and has been a strong supporter of gaming as well as gambling as a whole. The Senator now looks forward to retiring and spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren.

At 75 years of age, Bonacic has had a strong influence on the gambling that is now available in the state. He holds the position as the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee chairman and is the gatekeeper so to speak when it comes to legislation within the Senate.

His equlivant in the House is Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, who Bonacic has been able to get on his side when it comes to gaming interests. In the past, Pretlow was unsupportive of online poker gaming, but with Bonacic’s help, has seen the error of his thinking and now is supportive of the option.

Bonacic was instrumental in creating the daily fantasy sports bill in the state, which passed two years ago. He also worked to bring casino gaming to Sullivan County, something that had taken decades to do. The casino approval now has let to property value increase and job creation.

With his support, such groups as commercial gaming operators, tribal interests and horse racing tracks have been able to see eye to eye when it comes to the overall gambling landscape. His departure from the state government is going to be significant as there will not be anyone in place able to handle the issues that come with the gambling industry as well as potential changes.

Online Gaming Needs to Happen Now

Currently, Bonacic has been working to see online gambling come to life in the state. He has created an online poker bill with a carve out for regulation with the game being considered one of skill. As many as 11 online poker licenses would be up for grabs. S 7900 is a sports betting bill that Bonacic has introduced, which would allow for mobile sports wagering as well as in-person options.

Bonacic is hoping to gain enough support now to see something happen before he leaves office. Support has arisen in the Assembly with Assemblyman Clyde Vanel and Pretlow supporting efforts, pushing with Bonacic to see something happen, and hopefully soon.

There is broad support found in the Senate now and this is likely due to Bonacic’s presence. Once the Senator is gone, there may not be as much support in place to see online gambling legislation move forward.

When he is out of office, it seems that his position will be succeeded by Senator Jospeh Addabbo, who has yet to really show his views on the gambling industry. He does vote with Bonacic when it comes to committee matters so hopefully he will be a great champion for the gaming industry, following in Bonacic’s footsteps.