New York State Assemblyman Clyde Vanel has reached out to Empire State poker activists as he prepares to “whip” votes to support legislation that would formally regulate real money online poker games in New York.
In an exclusive April 10th interview with Online Poker Report, the lawmaker who represents the state’s 33rd Assembly District (Queens) said that New York Assembly Bill 5250 will soon receive broad support in the form of additional co-sponsors, and that there’s a “good shot of getting it through this year.”
Vanel told OPR contributor Matthew Kredell that NY State Assembly Chairman Gary Pretlow is a “great champion” of the proposed legislation, adding that regulated online poker proponents can assist by providing “pressure from the outside.”
The legislative proposal is identical in nature to New York Online Poker Bill (S3898), which recently failed to become part of New York’s fiscal budget.
Both measures would formally legalize New York online poker, offer existing land-based casinos an opportunity to purchase poker-only licenses for $10 million USD, and allow the state to enter into liquidity-sharing compacts with other jurisdictions at regulators’ discretion.
Assemblyman Clyde Vanel Requests Poker Activist Engagement
Vanel’s message and acceptance of responsibility for “whipping” votes grants a clear initiative to regulated online poker activists in the Empire State — some of whom hold a desire to communicate their grassroots message directly to statewide regulators.
The NY State Assembly Subcommittee on Internet and New Technology chairman advised that online poker players in the state should reach out to their respective New York Assembly Members to share insight on the topic.
“My job is that I’m the guy who is going to whip these votes,” Clyde Vanel added in his interview with Online Poker Report. “That’s what I’m doing. I’m working these votes to get the bill on the [Assembly] floor, and I will be whipping votes on the floor.”
“We need pressure from the outside, too. There has to be momentum and push on the inside and outside. We need to show that there’s voices out there other than people opposed to wagering, and they are respectable poker players who we are depriving opportunities.”
Assemblyman Clyde Vanel also referenced NY A5250 as a measure that could ease the financial difficulties faced by some NY commercial casinos, who could benefit from extra revenue tied to formally licensed online poker.
Does “Skill-Based” Poker Fall Outside the Definition of Gambling?
NY Assembly Bill 5250 — as currently written — contains language that enables state lawmakers to judge whether “certain forms of poker should fall outside the general definition of gambling since those games are games of skill.”
If passed, the regulated New York online poker-only market would become the first of its kind in the United States, and could pave the way for an undetermined amount of “for-profit” player activity and partnership opportunities that have traditionally been blocked-off from gambling formats such as house-edge table games and slot machines.
The proposed legislation is also in stark contrast to existing United Kingdom regulation, which focuses heavily on enforcement of strict advertising and marketing guidelines for all forms of gambling, and prohibits the marketing of consumer-profit opportunities associated with competitive poker games.
Online Casino Games Would Not Be Authorized
A regulated New York online poker-only law would test whether such a marketplace can succeed without accompanying house-edge casino games, while at the same time allowing traditional poker formats such as Texas Hold’em and Omaha Hold’em a broad initiative to flesh-out “skill-based” player performances through in-game competition, leader board prizes, and rankings.
However, it is unclear at this time which iGaming stakeholders support (or don’t support) NY A5250. An inquiry sent in late March to the iDevelopment and Economic Association (the United States’ main iGaming lobbyist organization) went unanswered.
This could signal that New York poker activists themselves will be tasked with organizing most (if not all) grassroots lobbying efforts for the bill, but Assembly Member Vanel’s message for NY poker players — encouraging them to interact with corresponding lawmakers — appears to leave the door open for direct communication between proponents and legislators.
New York online poker players are invited to join ongoing public discussions in related forum threads that are currently active:
For official information and collaboration, New York online poker fans should initiate contact with their respective Assembly Members, who could be debating NY A5250 on the Assembly floor this June.
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Read More U.S. Gambling Legislation News & Analysis from David Huber:
New York Online Poker Bill FAQs (Apr 10, 2018)
Pennsylvania Category 4 Casino FAQs (Mar 12, 2018)
Michigan Regulated iGaming Study Guide (Feb 6, 2018)
Connecticut Sports Betting Legislation Preliminary Guide (Mar 2, 2018)
Louisiana Senate Bill 322 Would Regulate iGaming Pending Voter Referendum (Mar 5, 2018)
Poker Players Alliance Seeks $25,000 in Donations by April (Mar 15, 2018)