Could Gov. Cuomo Derail Online Poker Legislation in NY?

Online poker legislation may hit a snag in New York, should it ever reach the Governor's office.
NY Governor Cuomo

Online poker legislation may hit a snag in New York, should it ever reach the Governor’s office.

Two identical bills seeking to legalize and regulate online poker in New York are currently on the floor of the State Senate and Assembly.

Andrew Whitman, a TV news anchor, political correspondent and reporter at WRNN-TV and Verizon FiOS 1 News in New York, recently probed New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo‘s office on the topic.

Gov. Cuomo’s press secretary Dani Lever responded with a statement claiming the office would have to take a long, hard look at the issue before committing to either side.

“We just legalized destination resort casinos with the intent to increase tourism in under served parts of the state. Any proposal that could potentially impact that would have to be reviewed very carefully,” reads the statement posted on Whitman’s Twitter account.

New York voters supported a constitutional amendment that authorized the issue of three commercial gaming licenses in the state back in 2013. A year later, licenses were issued to the del Lago Resort & Casino in Waterloo, NY, Rivers Casino and Resort in Schenectady, NY and the Montreign Resort and Casino in the Catskill Mountains.

The Tioga Downs Racino in Nichols, NY was unsuccessful in its bid for a license, but campaigned to re-open the bidding process and was given a full gaming license as well.

The new Tioga Downs Casino opened its doors in December 2016, becoming the first licensed commercial casino in the state. The del Lago Resort & Casino opened on February 1, 2017, and Rivers Casino and Resort opened up a week later. The Montreign Resort and Casino is scheduled to open in the Spring of next year.

The Governor’s office may want to look at the impact online poker would have on these new commercial casinos, but the operators themselves seem less concerned.

In fact, earlier this month, the State Assembly’s Chairman of the Committee on Racing and Wagering, Westchester Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow told Whitman all of the state’s casino and Racino properties, including the four new commercial operations, support online poker legislation in the state.

Plus, the notion that a legalized online poker market would cannibalize the new commercial casino business in the state is being refuted by at least one online poker lobbying group.

The Poker Players Alliance‏ responded to Lever’s statement by tweeting that the evidence shows online poker will help drive new customers to brick and mortar casinos, not drive them away.

“It’s complementary, not competitive,” the PPA claims.



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