Online Poker Came So Close to Passing in New York

Gary Pretlow

Gary PretlowOnline poker legislation has failed to move forward in New York State, with one lawmaker pointing out just how close the Assembly was to a vote.

Last week, the New York State legislative session came to an end. Just before lawmakers headed home, consideration of an online poker bill was almost put to a vote. According to Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, he needed eight more Democrats on his side to have seen an online poker bill for the state be voted on. The bill was not really looked at during the last few weeks of the session as a sports betting bill was given more consideration. However, the sports betting bill also failed to move forward.

According to Online Poker Report, Assemblyman Pretlow stated that he had 68 Democrats ready to support his bill, A 5250. The bill officially finished with 51 Assembly members showing their support, which included 47 Democratic members and 4 Republicans.

Needing More Support

Pretlow, who is the chairman of the Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee, stated that A 5250 had the votes to pass based on bipartisan support if the measure had been put on the floor for consideration. However, support was not enough to see the bill considered for a vote on the full floor.

In the New York Assembly, there are 150 seats. 76 would create the majority. Carl Heastie is the Speaker of the Assembly, who is the highest ranking official within the governing body. He has the power to decide which bills will be considered for a vote on the floor. According to Pretlow, Heastie is obligated to move a bill forward when it has 76 supporters but they have to be from the majority party and republicans do not count.

Pretlow stated he had 30 republicans showing support but they do not count and he couldn’t use them. You cannot get 50 democrats and 30 republicans, according to the Assemblyman. You need to have 76 democrats to pass something. According to Pretlow, if everyone counted, the bill would have had at minimum of 90 votes.

Plagued with Problems

New York continues to have the potential to pass online gambling legislation only to see bills fail to move forward. Pretlow has tried for some time to see online poker move through the Assembly but continues to receive little support in his efforts. The Senate has been able to pass online poker legislation in the pats but this year, no consideration was given.

So now, online poker and sports betting legislation has died away. The state can start anew next year, but they will already be behind. Pennsylvania should begin offering online poker sometime this year, and of course, Delaware and New Jersey already offer online poker and casino gaming, with sports betting now in the mix.

Other states in the region are beginning to look at legislation in several areas of online gaming and if passed, such as in Massachusetts or Connecticut, New York will fall even further behind. The state may soon find themselves facing stiff competition, if they are ever able to pass online gambling legislation into law.

Lawmakers of the state could use this time to thin of ways to get more support for online gaming and work on potential legislation that can be introduced once the lawmakers are back in session. For now, all eyes will be on other states as they begin to work on online poker and casino gaming, while New York falls to the wayside yet again, when considering online gaming efforts.