New York State assemblyman Gary Pretlow has been pushing for the legalization of online poker in the state for the last couple of years and has continued his efforts in 2016 by reintroducing online poker bill AB9049 for review and approval. Pretlow’s bill is based on the premise that online poker is played not based on chance or luck but on the basis of skill and must be considered as a sport.
The new bill also addresses a number of other niches such as breeding laws, racing and parimutuel wagering. Pretlow believes that the illegal gambling industry in New York is growing at a rapid pace because there is a demand within the state for online gambling activities and since nothing is legal as of now, New Yorkers turn to these illegal gambling websites and expose themselves to numerous risks. Pretlow wants the state to legalize the online gambling industry to provide New Yorkers with a safe and regulated means of gambling online. The new bill will be reviewed by the Racing and Wagering Committee in the coming weeks.
By legalizing the online poker industry, the state government will be able to generate a significant amount of revenue from gambling taxes and use the additional revenue for key projects in the city that would further benefit the state. The AB9049 online poker bill proposes a licensing fee of $2 million which will be a one time fee and a 15 percent gaming tax fee. During the last couple of years, Pretlow has not been able to get enough state legislators to back his online poker bill and could find things tough in 2016 as well since state legislators are already battling the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) industry.
Pretlow also tried hard to convince New York legislators by releasing a statement last year which said “As nearby states such as New Jersey and Delaware have adopted well-regulated systems, they’ve seen a corresponding increase in tax revenue. The security technology they have employed has not only kept gaming safe within their borders, it has created a legal system where law enforcement can crack down on the fraud and any other illegal activity that currently runs rampant in the robust online black market.”
However, towards the end of 2015, Eric Schneiderman, New York attorney general went after the DFS industry and targeted the two biggest websites, FanDuel and DraftKings. The attorney general wants the courts to impose a $5,000 fine on each violation and if approved, it could fetch the state close to $3 billion and most likely result in both businesses going into bankruptcy as Schneiderman believes that the DFS industry violates the state gaming law.
Considering the stance that New York has adopted over its current gambling laws, Pretlow will find it tough going in 2016 to convince Schneiderman and other state legislators to roll out a new gambling law.