Online poker won’t be coming to New York, at least for the foreseeable future. Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Senate passed an $168 billion annual budget, but iGaming wasn’t included.
For the third consecutive year, New York’s Senate voted on and passed a bill to legalize online gambling. That occurred back in January at a time when optimism was high that legal internet poker could soon be coming to the Empire State.
The optimism is now on hold after Governor Cuomo approved a budget that didn’t include funding from online poker sites. That means there likely won’t be much discussion, if any at all, from state lawmakers the rest of the year on the issue.
What is the Hold Up?
It’s no secret why an online poker bill can’t ever seem to get far in New York. The bill has passed a Senate vote multiple times, but the measure can’t become law until the Assembly and then the governor give approval.
The Assembly has shown little interest in using online gambling revenue as a means for funding the state’s budget. Not only has the Assembly refused to pass legislation. It hasn’t even voted on the bill and doesn’t appear interested in doing so any time soon.
Governor Cuomo has also been lukewarm on legalized internet gambling. So, even if a poker bill passes through the House, it’s questionable if he would use his veto power to strike it down.
States such as Nevada and New Jersey use revenue from online gambling to help fund the state budget. But it appears New York’s lawmakers prefer using other methods. To each their own.
Is Sports Betting the Ticket?
The US Supreme Court is mulling a decision on the future of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), a federal law that prevents most states from legalizing sports betting.
Should the Supreme Court eliminate the PASPA law, and most expect that to happen, that means each individual state will have the right to license sportsbooks.
Like many states, New York is considering supporting pro-sports betting legislation should the Supreme Court, which is expected to rule on this issue by June, rule in favor of the sports bettors.
Online Poker Report’s Eric Ramsey has speculated that New York could include online poker in a package deal with a sports betting bill. This may be poker’s only ticket into the state, at least in the near future.