New York iPoker Bill Removed From State Budget

New York iPoker Bill Removed From State Budget After Pennsylvania became the fourth US state to legalize online gambling in 2017, it was anticipated that a number of other important markets would be motivated to follow suit this year, including the likes of California and New York.
Unfortunately, California Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer soon dispelled such hopes after he said that he wouldn’t be reintroducing his sponsored poker bill, AB 1677, to the state’s Assembly this year. Moreover, New York lawmakers have now added to the general sense of disappointment by refusing to include internet gambling in their budget proposals for a third year in a row.
iGaming Excluded from NY budget
New York provided its budget proposal ahead of Sunday’s deadline, but while the Senate included sports betting and internet poker in its version, the Assembly and Governor Andrew Cuomo, on the other hand, made no such provisions. The situation mirrors similar attempts to pass online gambling legislation in the past, and clearly demonstrate that there just isn’t enough support in The Empire State to expand its gambling industry further by bringing it online.
Sports Betting May Hold Key
Nevertheless, sports betting may provide a more convenient backdoor for online gambling to eventually be legalized in New York, with the lucrative vertical having taken center stage in recent months. In fact, New York has already introduced a sports betting bill to take advantage of a change in the law should New Jersey win its upcoming PASPA case in the US Supreme Court this summer.
In the event of a positive outcome, sports betting could be the first domino to fall in the drive towards a more general acceptance of online gambling, although the situation would once again die on the vine if the ruling fails to go the Garden State’s way.
Del Lago Casino Asking for Bail-out
Complicating further the drive towards online gaming is the poor performance by one of New York’s recently opened gambling venues, namely Del Lago Resort Casino. The $440 million property originally estimated that it would generate revenues of $263 million in its first year, but the reality actually fell $100 million short of projections, with the casino now seeking a state bailout in order to cope with mounting debts. Responding to the casino’s request, Sen. John DeFrancisco, stated:
“This casino developer pushed to have a New York casino for years, including on the Syracuse state fairgrounds. So he knew exactly what he was getting into. If he’s losing money, that’s his problem to fix, not the taxpayers.”
Gambling Industry Malaise
Needless to say, del Lago’s failings reflect badly on New York’s gambling industry, compounded by the fact State Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow (photo) had warned in October 2017 that the casino likely inflated its revenue projections and would ultimately need some kind of bailout in the future to stay afloat.
Over the years, Pretlow has been one of New York’s main lawmakers advocating the drive towards online poker regulation, and earlier this year indicated that he would “redouble” his efforts to advance legislation. As he subsequently commented:
“People are already playing online poker so we’re not going to get new people by regulating it, we’re just going to change the illegal status to legal status. If sites are operating legally, the state benefits, players are protected and it puts organized crime out of business. That’s how I’ve been pushing it.”
Pretlow also stated that offering a minimum of 10 online poker licenses for operators would generate much needed extra funds for the state budget, which is expected to be in deficit this year. However, del Lago’s failures are likely to reduce the appetite for any further gambling expansion in the state for now, with lawmakers also less likely to trust any expert predictions as to how much a potential online poker industry may generate for the state.

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