Big Names At American Poker Awards And Big News For Online Poker Legislation In CA, NY

Written By Jessica Welman on February 27, 2017
online poker bill in New York

The gambling world had poker on the brain this week.

A new online poker bill in California made headlines and a New York online poker bill made progress towards legalization. In Pennsylvania, the prospect of online poker is looking all the more appealing to state lawmakers, too.

The week also included the third annual American Poker Awards. Those who followed the awards may be dreaming about glory at the WSOP, but they should do some preparatory research about Nevada and the summer before packing their bags.

Here are all the major headlines of the week:

Spirits up about NY online poker bill

The whispers around Albany seem to indicate the proposed online poker legislation in New York might get heard and acted on this legislative session.

Reporter Andrew Whitman tweeted about the bill’s author, Assemblymember J. Gary Pretlow, being ready to try and move the bill through this session. Last year a similar bill got through the Senate with ease but got nowhere in the state Assembly.

The reports from New York do not guarantee online poker will get passed into law, but they do seem to indicate the issue is on the minds of many in the state legislature and is a “front burner” issue.

An interview with Pretlow aired over the weekend on local NY media – click the links for part one and part two.

CA online poker bill gets decidedly more tepid reaction

The good news for California online poker players begins and ends with the introduction of yet another iPoker proposal. An annual rite of passage for poker enthusiasts and state lawmakers, the bills date back nearly a decade with none making much headway.

This latest bill from Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer takes many elements from past poker bills. It aims to find compromise for the divergent interests of race tracks, tribal nations, online poker companies like Caesars Interactive and PokerStars, and brick and mortar casinos.

Therein lies the problem. Insiders within the state say they do not expect the bill to go anywhere because the conflicts of interests across these groups are too vast for a compromise to be reached any time soon.

Can online poker fix Pennsylvania’s gaming woes?

Pennsylvania gambling tax revenue is some of the highest in the country, but the Keystone State is still struggling to recover from the court ruling affecting the rates at which the 12 casinos in the state are taxed.

With that in mind, there are several reasons why the time is right to bring online gambling into the fold.

Third annual American Poker Awards handed out

This week the Global Poker Index hosted the third annual American Poker Awards in Beverly Hills, CA.

Jason Mercier won Moment of the Year for his incredible run at last summer’s World Series of Poker.

Other notable winners include Cate Hall, David Peters, Dan Smith, Cliff Josephy, Maurice Hawkins, and television producer Mori Eskandani, who was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Prepare for the WSOP, bring a credit card and marijuana awareness

The WSOP is less than 100 days away. With that in mind, players might as well start looking forward to the summer in Vegas.

There are some changes for the WSOP, including being able to buy-in via credit cards.

There are also some changes in Nevada law that have poker fans excited. Recreational marijuana use in Nevada is now legal, but there are plenty of caveats to the laws they should familiarize themselves with before lighting up in Sin City.

Image credit: Felix Lipov /

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Jessica Welman

Jessica Welman has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the managing editor for A graduate of Indiana University and USC, Welman is not only a writer but also a producer. She can be found on Twitter @jesswelman.

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