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New York Online Poker Legislation Moves Forward

Measure Advances In State Senate

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New York’s 2018 online poker efforts are still alive, and on Tuesday a bill in the Albany advanced past a key Senate committee.

The legislation, which comes from longtime Empire State poker advocate Sen. John Bonacic, a Republican, died in the Assembly on Jan. 3, before returning to the Senate for further consideration. The legislation, numbered S03898, cleared a full Senate vote in June 2017, but the measure never gained traction in the other legislative chamber.

It’s unclear if anything will change in the Assembly this year, but something happened in May that could provide the catalyst for getting online poker past the finish line. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a 1992 federal law that limited single-game sports betting to Nevada. New York will have to pass its own sports betting legislation in order to enter the industry. There have already been talks of coupling the two forms of gaming expansion into a single bill.

What’s more, the SCOTUS ruling gives states even great protection from the federal government with regards to passing their own online gambling laws.

Late last month, MGM Resorts announced that it has reached a deal to acquire the Empire City Casino, a slots and racetrack gambling facility located in Yonkers, NY. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year.

MGM has already lobbied for online poker legislation in New York, but with a casino in the state, the impetus could eventually be there for Assemblymembers.