Following the vote by the New York Senate last week to legalize online poker in New York, Senator Jon Bonacic said in an interview that he is slightly more optimistic that the bill will get some consideration from the Assembly.
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Last year, a similar bill also made it to the Assembly floor, although the Assembly would not even consider it. This time, things may a bit different due to one key change: the proposal states that all revenue from tax on internet poker will be earmarked for the state lottery fund on education.
According to Jon Bonacic: “That’s an important carrot for the Assembly.”
The main objective for Assembly is to raise revenues for the state without having to raise property taxes in the next three years. By legalizing and regulating online poker, the state may be able to pull this off.
“This is a proven product,” noted Bonacic. “We have the knowledge of the results of what our sister state [New Jersey] is doing next door. Jersey’s experience has been enhanced revenue to the state and at the casino as a result of online poker. All our racinos and casinos want it.”
There are only a few short days left before the New York legislative session ends. In the meantime, the bill has been referred to the Assembly Racing, Wagering and Gaming Committee which is chaired by Assemblymember J. Gary Pretlow.
Bonacic said the he had spoken to Pretlow after the bill was moved from the Senate. “He said he’s very close to getting this on the floor,” said Bonacic about Pretlow. “I know he’s working hard to get it done.”
New York legislative rules state that a bill has to be active on the Assembly floor for at least three days before it can go to final vote. For the online poker bill to have a chance, it will have to pass through the Assembly Racing, Wagering and Gaming Committee by Monday, June 19th at the very latest. If it passes the final vote, it still has to receive the final green light from Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Bonacic is optimistic that Cuomo will sign the bill. He said in the interview that the Governor has not spoken against the proposal, and he is aware that casinos and racinos want it. “He Knows we need revenue,” said Bonacic.