Pennsylvania and California have a better chance of legalizing online poker than New York State, but a New York State lawmaker is not discouraged by this. New York State Senator John Bonacic is now in the process of revising his online poker bill to increase its chances of being passed into law.
Bonacic is the man behind the bills introduced in 2014 as well as 2015. If passed into law, these bills will give New York State the power to grant licenses to online poker operators while simultaneously providing for the signing of interstate liquidity-sharing compacts, similar to what one sees in Nevada and New Jersey.
The bill proposed in 2015 was similar to the one proposed the previous year, but it lacked a bad actor clause that would make it difficult for PokerStars.com to get a license. Bonacic was convinced that each operator should be considered individually instead of imposing a blanket ban on those who continued to remain in operation after 2006.
He said: “I felt that it would be best for the gaming commission, when performing the proposed suitability review, to determine whether or not certain organizations should be authorized to conduct online poker based upon their previous actions.”
A hearing on online poker was recently held in New York State, leading Bonacic to make more changes to his bill. The new bill would reduce licensing fees, but irrespective of the changes, online poker legalization is not going to happen in New York State anytime soon. Even Bonacic understands this.
He recently told Time Warner Cable News, who was interviewing him at the time: “I’ve told the proponents of the online poker bill that I would take it and study it, but I was more interested in seeing that the three casino licenses would move forward, and I didn’t want to muddy the waters for the path that the casino licenses were on. I didn’t expect them to move this slow, but we’re optimistic that at the end of this month, at least the one in Sullivan County will get its license and be ready to go.”
The Sullivan County Casino proposed for Catskills as well as a Shenectady casino appear to have overcome all regulatory hurdles.