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New York Senate passes online poker bill

The bill will now head to the Assembly.

The bill will now head to the Assembly.

The New York Senate yesterday passed a bill — S 3898A — that would legalize and regulate online poker, continuing last year’s efforts and picking up where the Senate Finance Committee’s vote in May left off. The bill received a 54-8 vote.

In June 2016, the New York Senate approved an online gambling bill by a 53-5 vote, but moved no further.

Bill S 3893 was introduced in late January by Sen. John Bonacic and passed the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee with an 11-0 vote.

Now, S 3898A awaits a decision from the Assembly. Bad actor language, amended by Sen. John Bonacic, could potentially halt the bill’s progress. The language seems to be aimed at preventing Amaya/PokerStars from entering the market due to its involvement with online poker before the UIGEA. Whether this amendment will help or hurt the bill in Assembly remains to be seen.

But brick-and-mortar casinos in the area aren’t strongly opposed. In February, Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow, Chairman of the Committee on Racing and Wagering, said the state’s four commercial casinos are game for online poker. During an interview with Fios1 news in he said, “All four casinos have said they don’t have a problem with the state offering online poker — and the seven racinos are also eligible to be in partnership with organizations that handle online poker.”

New York’s first-year online poker market is estimated at $120 million.

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