I enjoy both online poker and daily fantasy sports. Neither is perfect – there are certainly issues with each that I would like fixed (hey sites: call me, my consulting rates are competitive) – but both pastimes are a lot of fun and should be legalized and regulated across the United States. And they both constitute gambling. Thus, it vexes me that DFS, despite being the much less mature industry, has been gaining acceptance from lawmakers at an astronomically faster rate than online poker. Case in point: over the weekend, the New York legislature passed a bill that legalizes and regulates DFS, while at the same time the state Assembly didn’t even vote on an online poker bill.
On Saturday, the New York Assembly passed A10736, the DFS legalization bill, by a 91 to 22 vote, sending it over to the Senate. Senators discussed their twin bill, S8153, the rest of the day and night, finally passing it by a 45 to 17 vote at two o’clock in the morning. The measure now rests in the hands of Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has ten days from Saturday morning to sign or veto the bill. He is expected to sign it, but even if he takes a different route, it will almost certainly still become law. If he does nothing, it automatically becomes law, and if he vetoes it, both chambers of the legislature can overrule that veto with a two-thirds vote. And since they already voted on it by a wide enough margin, the bill should be veto-proof.
This is great news for New York daily fantasy fans and especially for the two largest DFS sites, DraftKings and FanDuel. The two sites have been in a legal struggle with New York and Attorney General Eric Scheiderman, eventually agreeing to withdraw from the New York market. Now that it looks like DFS will be legal in the Empire State, the sites are expected to jump back into the mix. Without the legislation, they would have had to fight it out in court.
As for poker, it was another loss. S5302, which would legalize and regulate online poker in New York, had already passed the Senate easily, 53 to 5. Rep. Gary Pretlow’s twin bill, though, stalled out in the Assembly, not even getting a courtesy vote. Pretlow was also the sponsor of the DFS bill, just like Sen. John Bonacic was the sponsor of both the DFS and online poker bills in the Senate.
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