U.S. Gambling Update – Oregon, Illinois, New York

Posted on June 17th, 2013 by Todd Wilkins

U.S. Gambling Update - Oregon, Illinois, New YorkAttention has been focused of late on the federal level and the chances of success of New York Representative Peter King’s online gambling proposal.

The word on the street continues to be that the bill that would allow all 50 states to uniformly offer online gambling if they so choose faces an uphill battle. While federal legislators debate the merits of that proposal, let’s take a look at recent gambling legislation movement (or the lack thereof) on the state level. Our focus today is on Oregon, Illinois and New York.

Oregon Poker Rooms Safe For Now

A bill aimed at shutting down live poker rooms in Oregon landed in the muck. The poker clubs operate as social gaming establishments that charge admission in addition to selling food and drink. The operators profit from only those avenues, as no rake is taken from cash game pots or tournament entry fees.

The proposal to shutter the clubs sponsored by Rep. Julie Parrish, (R-West Linn) died in the state legislature. According to oregonlive.com, lawmakers may take a closer look at the state’s social gaming statute at a later date. But for now, cards will remain in the air in Oregon poker rooms.

Illinois to Hold Special Legislative Session

Gambling expansion, including online gaming, has long been mentioned as a way to solve Illinois’ pension crisis. That crisis has reached monumental proportions, with the Land of Lincoln finding itself in debt to the tune of roughly $100 billion.

The spring legislative session ended in May without state lawmakers agreeing on a way out of the financial mess. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has called lawmakers together for a special session this week to try to hammer out a solution. While online gambling advocates would love to point out that enacting online poker legislation would be one way to put a dent in that pension debt, Quinn won’t be rubber-stamping gambling expansion bills anytime soon.

The frustrated governor has stated that he will not be considering adding five new casinos and slot machines at airports and racetracks until the pension crisis is resolved. Supporters of a standalone online gambling bill are also expected to shelve their proposal for the time being. Meanwhile, Illinois’ credit rating is the worst in the U.S., a problem of grave concern that Quinn hopes to address by reconvening legislators on June 19.

New York Eyeing Gambling Expansion

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo would like to see seven new land-based gambling establishments statewide. One obstacle in his path was cleared after signing agreements with a triumverate of Indian tribes that allows the natives protection from competing brick and mortars.

That agreement also calls for tens of millions of dollars that had been held by the tribes for several years to be paid to three cities in the state, the New York Times reported. With that deal in his pocket, Cuomo can now press on in his desire to construct Vegas-type resort-casinos.

The New York state legislature will soon consider a casino amendment, perhaps sometime this week. Should it gain approval, New York residents will be allowed to have a say in the matter in a November referendum. If lawmakers and voters are keen on Cuomo’s plan, destination casinos may arrive in upstate New York initially. The persistent governor also envisions such casinos to eventually be constructed in “the city that never sleeps.”

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