Online Gambling Efforts Continue to Move Forward in New York

by Kyle Miller

New York Online GamblingA senate committee has passed legislation in regards to online gambling in the state of New York, with a full senate review in the works.

Online gambling legislation is being considered in several states across the US. From Hawaii to Pennsylvania, there are many states that just want to be able to provide a safe environment for their residents to enjoy online casino and poker games. New York is one such state that has had legislation on the table for quite some time in regards to online gaming. Just this week, a senate committee passed a measure that would put in motion the opportunity to offer online games for real money wagering.

S 3898

The state Senate of New York will now be considering S 3898 after the measure moved forward within the Senate Finance Committee earlier this week. On Tuesday, the committee passed the legislation without any debate on the matter. The bill had already been passed within the Senate Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee with a unanimous vote and will be considered by the full senate sometime in the near future.

The bill is sponsored by Senator John Bonacic, a legislator of the state who has worked hard to try and see online gambling come to fruition within the state. With this bill, the game of online poker will be classified as one of skill which will set a precedent if passed to begin to see online gambling become a reality within the state.

Previous Efforts

Bonacic tried last year to pass a bill that was similar to S 3898 but had no luck in seeing the measure move forward. While the Senate seemed on board, the Assembly was not. Assemblyman Gary Pretlow has been blamed as the reason why the legislation was not considered last year. Pretlow had the opportunity to take the legislation and hold a hearing but declined, stating the measure did not have the support in the house it needed to move forward.

At the time, Pretlow was concerned with several aspects of online gaming including choosing between a game of skill and a game of chance. He was also worried about cheating and players who are ineligible taking part. However, in 2017, Pretlow has changed his tune and gotten on board with online gaming efforts. He even created an equivalent to Bonacic’s bill in the Assembly which is currently being considered.

With both measures, Texas Hold’em and Omaha Hold’em will be legalized as online poker games of skill. This will help to create a regulated online gaming market within the state. The reason the skill and chance component is so important is that with a game of chance, adding online gaming would be considered an expansion of the gambling industry. Such an expansion is prohibited in the state based on the constitution.

Long Way To Go

Back in March, the measure had been added to the budget plans for the state but such plans were eventually stopped. Lawmakers then became focused on considering online poker as a standalone issue. The bill will not be consider by a full senate and will have to move past many hurdles if it is to be passed into law this year. If the bill does become law, operators who wish to offer services would need to apply for licensing within the state Gaming Commission. A tax of 15% will be set on gross gaming revenues with the money going back to the state. We shall watch and see if the state to continues to progress with the legislation or if efforts will slow down as the Senate begins their full review of the measure.