New York State poker players’ hopes that 2023 would be the year that the Empire State legalizes and regulates online poker have been dashed with this week’s disclosure by the state’s Assembly and Senate chambers that online casino gambling, including online poker, have been omitted from both chamber’s 2024 fiscal year budgets.
Both chambers traditionally publish compromise, bipartisan budgets as part of the final negotiating process for the upcoming fiscal year. In New York, the 2024 fiscal year begins on April 1, 2023.
The absence of budget provisions related to casino-style online gambling completes a trifecta of not-enough-interest budget releases, as iGaming was also excluded from Governor Kathy Hochul’s $227 billion FY2024 budget released in February.
Lacking budgetary support, the recent online-poker bills introduced earlier this year in New York will be shelved until at least 2024. NY Assemblyman Gary Pretlow introduced AB 1380 in January, and NY State Senator Joseph Addabbo introduced a companion bill in February. Both bills would have legalized online poker by reclassifying poker as a game of skill, following the path to legalization used by daily fantasy sports (DFS) to win approval in the state.
The legislative setback is the latest in a long line of similar results in New York stretching back more than a decade. One problem that casino-style iGaming and online poker have faced is the parallel legalization process for sports betting, which itself took a half dozen years before being finalized in 2019. That back-and-forth battle, complicated by a major DFS-related suit brought by the New York State AG’s office against DFS and, later, sportsbook operators FanDuel and DraftKings, had the unintended consequence of shoving the online-poker topic to the back seat in New York, where it remains mired today.