New York Seems Poised to Pass Online Poker Regulation in 2017


New York Senator John Bonacic (foreground) and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow (background) have teamed up to push online poker legislation in New York State.

While no state has legalized iGaming since 2013, New York joins Pennsylvania as a state prepared to do so in 2017.

New York Sen. John Bonacic and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow have introduced identical legislation – S03898 and A05250 – in the New York Senate and Assembly that would redefine poker as a game of skill rather than a game of chance.

By doing so, state lawmakers would allow the state’s gaming commission to craft regulations for legalizing online poker – this is similar to the approach legislators took last year in legalizing daily fantasy sports.

Under the legislation filed by Bonacic and Pretlow, the state could grant up to 11 online poker licenses and it also leaves the door open for potential interstate agreements. Under such an agreement, players outside of New York would be able to play on the state’s online gaming platforms and vice versa.

This isn’t the first time that Bonacic and Pretlow have pushed for online gaming in New York.

Last year, the pair introduced similar legislation that would pave the way for iGaming. While the Senate bill passed overwhelmingly, Pretlow’s support wavered and the measure was never brought up for a vote in the State Assembly.

New York becomes the latest state to introduce online gaming legislation in 2017. Others, such as Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania have varying levels of support with Pennsylvania seemingly all but certain to approve the measure.

The online gaming discussion in New York comes as the state has recently opened two new casinos after voters approved a measure in 2013 to expand gambling in the state. The del Lago Resort & Casino opened in Tyre February 1, while Rivers Casino & resort opened in Schenectady February 8.

Previously, Tioga Downs in the Southern Tier converted from a racino to a slots and table-games casino in December. The fourth casino set to open with the expansion of gambling, the Montreign Resort Casino, is expected to open in the Catskills in 2018.