New York Online Poker Chances: ‘Slim, But Not Very Slim’ Lawmaker Says

NY online poker slim chances

After hearing from New York Assemblymember J. Gary Pretlow about the issues he’s having in trying to move his online poker bill in the end of the session, I responded that it sounds like the chances for this particular year are very slim.

“I would say they’re slim, but not very slim,” Pretlow clarified in the phone interview.

So you’re telling me there’s a chance?

Pretlow moved the legislation, the companion piece to the bill passed by the Senate on Tuesday, through his Racing, Wagering and Gaming Committee yesterday.

That leaves three more steps (Codes, Ways and Means, then Rules committees) the bill would need to take before advancing to the Assembly floor, where it needs to reach by Monday in order to have the required three-day gestation period before it could be voted on in the expected late-night, early-morning hours carrying over from the last day of the session June 21.

The bill is now in the Codes Committee, and it’s not expected to get out before the end of the session.

“I believe they’ve some issues that could not be resolved by the center of next week,” Pretlow said. “I’ve heard they’ve some constitutional issues and disagreements over the penalties. Some people say we don’t have strong enough penalties for bad actor, while some people say the penalties are too strong.”

Assemblymember Joseph R chairs codes. Lentol, a Democrat.

Pretlow asserted he is going to be fighting for the bill in these final days, and that he’s faced this same scenario before and come out victorious.

“I’ve been known to work miracles at times,” he said. “I had the same situation with daily fantasy sports, and we got that done on the last day in almost the exact same situation.”

New York legislative procedure

As the session in New York comes to an end, committees are shut down. They’re able to only meet whether Rules Committee or the Assembly Speaker order a special committee meeting. That’s what occurred for Wagering Racing and Gaming to advance the bill.

It’d need to be opened by the speaker or Rules for the Codes Committee to have the chance to address online poker, and there are not any indications that are inclined to do so.

The Assembly Speaker is Carl E. A Democrat Bronx.

Pretlow didn’t amend the bill to coincide with the Senate version before moving it through his committee, and he indicated the reason was to give Codes time to deal with the bill. If the amendments were added by him, there would be a three-day waiting period before it got to Codes.

The bill ought to be considered identical to the amended Senate version, based on Pretlow.

Bad-actor language

One of these amendments is bad-actor language that calls on regulators, when considering licensing suitability, to view in a negative light operators (namely PokerStars / Amaya) that didn’t leave the US market following the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in 2006.

Pretlow specified that he’s against such language, which he considers to be based on the lobbying efforts of MGM, but wouldn’t let it prevent the bill from passing. In the amendment’s current form, the language is more of a suggestion when compared to a ban.

“I think the way it was written, it seems to be attacking one particular company, and I don’t think that’s what we want to do,” Pretlow said. “I think we want to move in the future.”

How online poker can nevertheless pass this session

As Sen. John Bonacic mentioned earlier this week, the closing of legislative sessions in New York is a weird and wonderful time when a thousand bills come up for consideration, and whether or not they pass often comes down to leverage.

Online poker is obviously wanted by the Senate. It passed bills with ease last and this session.

Pretlow noted the New York chambers are at an impasse over mayoral control of schools in New York cities. It is wanted by the Assembly, as well as the Senate doesn’t.

“If it could somehow get tied right up in the negotiation for that, it’ll have a chance,” Pretlow said.

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