NY And PA Prepare For Possible Legal Sports Betting, Other States Mull Online Gambling

Written By Jessica Welman on January 31, 2017 - Last Updated on March 10, 2022
Pennsylvania NY legalization sports betting

The country has a new president. The local governments are in full swing. Now the new laws and high hopes for fans of online gambling and casino expansion are at an apex.

New bills in familiar states are par for the course. This week there was news of new states you do not often hear mentioned in iGaming news.

Here is the latest scoop from casino hotbeds like Las Vegas, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania as well as some updates from the gambling frontiers of Hawaii, New York, and Virginia.

Frontier states for gambling


Hawaii is considered a destination for many things. Casinos are not one of them, though.

That may change thanks to a new bill from state Sen. Will Espero. Currently Hawaii and Utah are the only states without some type of brick and mortar gaming.

The proposed legislation would not change that, but it would explore Hawaii offering online gaming in the future. In place of a casino infrastructure, the state would form a seven-person panel from the state Assembly and appointees by the governor.

The bill also opens up the possibility for gambling events on brick and mortar properties a couple of times a year.

Espero’s legislation has been introduced, but it is a long shot to ever be passed into law.

New York

The Supreme Court still has not decided on whether or not it will hear New Jersey’s sports betting legality case. Even so, many states, including New York, are readying to pull the trigger on sports wagering.

State Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow announced his intentions to introduce a sports betting bill in February. Ailing business at New York racetracks could stand to benefit from offering wagering.

Pretlow told Law360 he expects the measure to meet resistance. He expects legal challenges if it passes and is hoping perhaps the Second Circuit would disagree with the Third Circuit’s New Jersey ruling on the matter. If the courts clash, the Supreme Court could be more incentivized to rule on the case.


It has been a busy week in the Commonwealth of Virginia for poker lobbyists.

First, the state Senate Committee on General Laws passed a bill by a vote of 8-7 to legally clarify poker is a game of skill.

Friday the entire Senate voted on the bill and it was deadlocked at 19 for and 19 against. Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, the president of the state senate, broke the tie with a vote in favor.

The next step for the bill is the state House of Representatives. If the bill is passed into law, it would allow for brick and mortar poker tournaments to run in the state.

Gambling hotbeds


Poker fans rejoiced when the World Series of Poker (WSOP) released the complete schedule for the 2017 series this week.

The biggest poker series of the year runs from May 30 – July 17 and will feature 74 bracelet events. Three of those bracelet events will be played online. There will also be a $365 buy-in bracelet event, a $10,000 tag team event, and a $1,000 super turbo tournament.

New Jersey

Atlantic City has been struggling thanks to growing casino competition up and down the East Coast. The New Jersey casino city has made a key new hire to help revitalize the seaside community.

The Department of Community Affairs recently hired Jason Holt away from the Atlantic City mayor’s office to run the business administration team.


Like New York, the Keystone State is beginning to prepare for a possible future in sports betting.

Rather than try to directly legalize wagering within the state, a new piece of proposed legislation simply sets the stage to authorize sports betting and get the ball rolling should the federal government reverse its stance of the Professional And Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

The Supreme Court is holding off on making a decision to hear the case until President Donald Trump appoints a solicitor general. Since no nominee has been named and Trump’s stance on gambling is murky at best, there is no guarantee sports betting law changes.

Image credit: Felix Lipov / Shutterstock, Inc.

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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 WSOP.com. 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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