Online Poker Proposed by New York Legislators
With a looming deadline to approve a state budget, New York legislators have added a provision to the 2013/2014 budget proposal that would clear the way for online poker in the Empire State. The budget proposal, signed by both Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein, leaders in the state Senate, is reported to have the support of New York’s Senate Majority Coalition.
The language in the proposed operating budget specifically says, “The Senate supports authorizing and regulating internet gaming for games of skill, including poker, to reflect recent changes in the classification of these games.”
A 2011 clarification by the United States Justice Department of the 1961 Federal Wire Act essentially stated that the law applies only to sports-betting and not to other forms of Internet-based wagering, a ruling that New York state lawmakers believe permits the state to act on this issue.
Should online poker be stricken from the budget, which has a deadline for approval of the first of April, it is believed that the issue of online poker would be put back on the shelf until sometime in 2014 at the soonest. If passed, the introduction of online poker to the New York market is expected to help the state rake in an additional $100 million each year.
To keep up with competition from other states, New York is also working on land-based casino expansion, an issue that has, as in many places across the nation, become a contentious one. This is due in no small part to the fact that New York is home to several powerful Native American tribes, which operate their own casino properties and have been deeply divided on the issue of expansion.
Speaking to the media on Monday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that in his vision, the casino expansion would rollout slowly over a period of years, with a focus on the promotion of upstate casinos. As part of Cuomo’s plan, there would eventually be a New York City casino, however it would move forward only after the upstate properties were underway so as not to deter would-be operators.
“If the franchises upstate are going to be worth money, they’re worth more money if you can promise there’s not going to be a casino in New York City,” Governor Cuomo said.
Meanwhile, in neighboring Pennsylvania, casino expansion there has allowed the state to capture the title of second-largest gambling market in the US, a distinction it stole from Atlantic City last year.
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