On Tuesday the New York Senate Finance Committee passed Sen. John Bonacic’s online poker bill, S 3898. The committee passed by a voice vote without debate or discussion. The bill now advances to the full Senate for consideration.
Two Senate committees passed the proposal this year. The Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee Bonacic chairs unanimously approved the bill back in February. The Senate’s budget also included online poker before the New York Assembly stripped it out. New York’s online poker’s chances have been tough to handicap over the past two years.
Last year, supporters of legal online poker were ecstatic when the NY Senate passed an online poker bill (also sponsored by Sen. Bonacic) by an overwhelming 53-5 margin. Unfortunately, the feeling of ecstasy quickly turned into frustration. The Assembly never even considered the bill. The 2016 legislative session came to a close without a vote on online poker.
Following the Assembly’s failure to act on the legislation, Assemblyman Gary Pretlow produced a smorgasbord of reasons for the inaction. Pretlow cited everything from a lack of votes to concerns about cheating and technology, and even raised questions about poker’s skillfulness at one point.
Pretlow is the chairman of the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee. This makes him the de facto gatekeeper for all things gambling in the Assembly.
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