Assemblyman J.Gary Pretlow, who heads the New York Assembly’s Racing and Wagering Committee, hinted that he is willing to support the effort to legalize online poker in New York in an interview with the FIOS1 News network. Discussing the prospect of online poker, Pretlow said that if New York residents are to engage in playing poker online, he wanted to ensure that the games were as fair as possible.
Legalizing online poker in New York has been a hot topic in the state where two separate bills have been proposed thus far. The first bill, S3898, was recently re-introduced to the Senate by Senator John Bonacic and has already earned a positive vote by the Senate’s Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee this February. The second is an almost identical bill from Pretlow, who filled it to the Assembly a short while after Bonacic’s bill received a positive vote.
Both bills would see poker categorized as a skill-based game, rather than a game of luck, and would open up the doors for iPoker licenses in the state. According to the proposals, there will be a total of 11 licenses available for NY operators, each costing $10 million, while the operators would have to pay a 15% tax on their gross gaming yield to the state.
Bonacic’s poker bill was passed in the Senate by a large margin last year, only to be proclaimed “dead” in the Assembly by Pretlow due to a reported lack of support. But in his recent interview, the NY Assemblyman said that he doesn’t see that moving the bill will be met with much opposition now, although he admits there are still some who are opposed to the idea. He also added that he would like to see live cardroom poker at the proposed NY racinos and casinos also approved by the state.