We May Have Spoken Too Soon About NY Online Poker’s Slim Chances

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Earlier this month, tax revenue from online poker failed to make it into the New York state budget. At the time, it seemed there was little hope for the legalization of online poker.

New York Assemblyman Clyde Vanel sees things differently. In fact, he has a somewhat optimistic outlook on online poker’s chances to be legalized by the end of this year’s legislative session.

“Chairman Pretlow is a great champion for it, and now he has the partners to bring it through,” Vanel said to Online Poker Report. “The next few weeks will show some traction for the bill. With enough co-sponsors, I like it to get out of committee and onto the floor. I think we have a good shot at getting it through this year.”

Vanel and his goals for New York

As the chair of the Subcommittee on Internet and New Technology, Vanel believes regulating online poker is essential to establishing New York as a leader in the space.

“I want New York to be in a position where we’re leading the country in internet and new technology,” Vanel said. “This is an area where we can improve. We have poker in New York, but we’re not allowing it online. Folks can’t articulate why.”

Assemblyman Gary Pretlow introduced the legislation to authorize the legal operation of online poker sites in New York. The bill currently has 13 co-sponsors, but Vanel is predicting that the list will soon grow to between 60 and 70.

Vanel is not just pulling a number out of a hat. His prediction comes from the public support of over 60 Democrats for the inclusion of online poker in the budget. His goal is to turn that support into co-sponsors of A 5250.

“The budget effort didn’t work, but that happens with negotiations,” Vanel said. “What the exercise did is make us see that there’s more support for online poker than we previously thought.”

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The likelihood of legal online poker in New York

A companion bill has passed in the Senate each of the last two years. Passage through the Assembly is where the challenge lies.

“Our house has been the stopping point,” Vanel said. “If it gets through our house, it will have no problem getting through the Senate.”

Even if the co-sponsor list grows, as Vanel hopes it will, the passage of the bill is still not guaranteed. It has to pass through three committees before it gets to a full Assembly vote.

The legislative session adjourns in June, and it is unlikely we will know the bill’s fate before then. Vanel is committed to getting the votes and pushing the bill through.

“My job is that I’m the guy who is going to whip these votes,” Vanel said. “That’s what I’m doing. I’m working these votes to get the bill on the floor, and I will be whipping votes on the floor.”

Your voice matters

Your voice matters now more than ever. Community support plays a vital role in bringing legalized and regulated online poker to New York.

Vanel is ready to do his part and whip the votes, but he can’t do it alone. He is confident when representatives start hearing from constituents; the legislation will find the momentum it needs.

“We need pressure from the outside, too,” Vanel said. “There has to be momentum and push on the inside and outside. We need to show that there’re voices out there other than people opposed to wagering, and they are respectable poker players who we are depriving opportunities.”

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If legalized online poker in New York is important to you, now is the time! Call, write, tweet or message your representative today.

About

Kim Yuhl is a freelance writer and blogger who writes about poker culture and the online gambling industry. A part-time member of the poker media since 2013, Kim recently sold her marketing business to write full-time while traveling around the world. You can learn more about her work and travels at kimyuhl.com.