Putting Poker on Hold in New York Again

There have been numerous attempts, but just as many failures. For years, several senators in New York have attempted and failed to have online poker fully legalized, creating an administrative and legal nightmare for the state.

As State Senator John Bonacic departed at the end of 2018, he was replaced by State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. Many are concerned that in 2019, sports betting, rather than Poker, would take center stage due to Addabbo’s appointment.


A Assembly With Pretlow

Addabbo formally pre-filed SB-18 in Albany, New York, in advance of the annual reopening of Congress. Whether or if Addabbo’s bill has what it takes and will accomplish more than previous bills remains to be seen.


Many bills have passed the Senate in prior years, only to die in the Assembly. Assemblyman Gary Pretlow was the primary force behind this success. Back in 2016, Pretlow questioned if Poker was truly a game of skill. The same person who now opposes the reclassification of gambling as a game of skill had earlier that year lent his name and credentials to a bill to do just that.


Be Cautious As You Travel

Now that the issue of sports betting has eclipsed his previous interest in crafting an online Poker Bill, it’s clear that Pretlow is solely interested in high-profile, topical controversy.


When it comes to getting the appropriate legislation enacted, Addabbo’s SB-18 is once again taking the potentially disastrous step of seeking to reclassify Poker as a game of skill. This strategy has a history of failure, most recently with Daily Fantasy Sports in 2016.


An application to reclassify DFS as a game of skill was submitted in that year. However, the move was successfully challenged in court, and the legal status of Daily Fantasy Sports remains unclear to this day.

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