Online poker advocate Andrew Yang wants a casino in New York City

Jon Sofen
Published by:
Posted on 01/27/2021

Andrew Yang, who strongly supports legal online poker nationwide, now wants a casino in the heart of New York City. The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate is now a potential candidate for Mayor of NYC.

In 2019, while running for president, the Asian entrepreneur openly proposed online poker legislation in the U.S.

“Online poker is legal in 4 states. The state-by-state rules are variable and push many players to offshore sites. We should clarify the rules and make it legal in all 50 states. US players and companies would benefit and new tax revenues could be used to mitigate addiction,” the Democratic hopeful wrote on Twitter.

That post was quite appealing to the poker community. He became the preferred presidential candidate among those on poker Twitter. But his campaign never gained much traction as the poker industry only represents a small portion of society. He ended his bid to become the 46th President of the United States early in 2020 when he saw the writing on the wall that he couldn’t win.

Yang then joined CNN as a political analyst and put his support behind Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate who would eventually go on to oust Donald Trump from office.

Yang is just 46 years old, so he’s young by American politician standards. He still has his sights set on the highest office in the land. So, he’s starting small and attempting to become the next Mayor of New York City, the largest city in the country.

The former presidential candidate is the betting favorite to get the job. He’s currently at +140 odds to be elected, well above Eric Adams (+350), Scott Stringer (+425), and Raymond McGuire (+525).

Would a casino in the heart of NYC spark the economy?

COVID-19 has caused great harm to New York’s economy. The metro area with over 20 million residents was the first major epicenter for the virus in 2020. Since then, many businesses have been forced to close down permanently.

The financial hardship has been a killer to the world-renowned American city. Yang has a solution: put a casino on Governor’s Island, in the heart of the New York Harbor, just steps away from Lower Manhattan.

“(Putting a casino on Governor’s Island) would generate so much money it would be bananas,” Yang said in a recent speech. “That would be one of the engines of recovery.”

Not everyone seems to agree with Yang’s opinion. The New York Daily News editorial board ripped on the mayoral candidate for proposing the idea.

The authors criticized Yang for suggesting the city lure in gamblers to blow money at the casino. Additionally, the article claims that “casinos are proven failures at reviving cities, especially with increasingly and pervasive online and mobile gaming.” The city of Las Vegas would likely disagree with that comment.

Online gambling isn’t legal in New York, but it is across the border in New Jersey, which boasts three online poker sites, including WSOP.com and PokerStars.

Perhaps if Yang is elected mayor, he’ll help influence lawmakers in the state to legalize online poker. Michigan recently passed legislation permitting licensed internet poker sites to operate within state borders. That was a huge pickup for the U.S. online poker industry. If New York hops on board, the dominoes may soon start to fall.

Featured image source: Flickr