A promising bill to legalize online interactive gambling — including online poker — in New York state has been delayed a year.
The bill followed the successful launch, this year, of retail gambling licenses in New York City and of online sports betting in the state. The state even had its first WSOPC event this year — held at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in upstate Verona back in March 2022.
The new bill, titled Senate Bill S8412, was intended to legalize online casinos, online poker, and other forms of interactive online gambling. Unfortunately, the bill missed this year’s legislative window and will have to be revisited when the New York state legislature sits again in 2023.
The bill was sponsored by Democratic state senator Joseph P. Abbado Jr and entered into committee on February 4, 2022. Since then, the Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee has reviewed and voted on it.
It passed the seven RGWC members with five ayes, two ayes with reservations, and zero nays. However, there is still a long way to go before the RNGs can start pitching hands of hold’em in NYS.
What next for the online poker bill?
From the RGWC it was handed off to the Finance Committee where it will languish until next year. In 2023, it will have to pass the Finance Committee’s vote. After that, the Senate and Assembly will also need to approve it before — finally — the governor can sign it into law.
If all that happens, there will then be further delays as the NYS Gaming Commission gets its internal procedures up to speed. Only then will companies be able to start applying for licenses to operate in the state.
The bill, in its “Justification” section, cites the success of online sports betting in the state and the value of the industry in terms of state taxes:
“This year, in its first month of operation, New York quickly became the leading mobile sports betting market in the nation, generating nearly $70 million in tax revenue in a single month. Similarly, if authorized, New York would quickly become the national leader in online casino gaming, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue annually for the State as it continues to recover from the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.“
The bill also estimates that additional tax revenue at $475 million. That money won’t be realized now for at least another year.
Once passed, the sports betting industry moved in fast. With any luck, New York’s rounders can start playing poker online before 2024 comes around.