Is Legit New York Online Poker Likely? Experts Weigh in

Is Legit New York Online Poker Likely? Experts Weigh in
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New York mobile sports betting went live on Jan. 8 and a variety of operators, including DraftKings, launched their local apps. These launches signaled the start of a new era in New York’s gambling industry and, in turn, reopened the debate about poker.

Efforts to regulate poker have been happening for almost a decade. Assemblyman Gary Pretlow has long been a supporter of legal online poker in New York. The Democrat first introduced an online poker bill in 2014.

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His efforts came soon after the 2013 legalization of commercial casinos in New York. In Pretlow’s view, the availability of live poker should be matched by an online ecosystem. Unfortunately, that proposal has been unsuccessful so far.

However, with online sports betting in New York now a reality, there could be a way in for poker sites. How likely is this? That’s the million-dollar question. The state of play right now is that real money online poker and casino gaming are illegal in New York. But there’s a chance this could change.

Foundations Set for New York Online Poker Regulations

New York’s neighbor, New Jersey, has had legal online poker since 2013. That’s something Partypoker advisor Rob Yong commented on in 2019 when he tweeted the following:

“I am standing in New Jersey where it’s legal to play online poker, but if I get on this ferry to New York, I am breaking the law - not sure this is a sensible way to regulate online poker.”

His view is shared by a number of industry experts and politicians. For example, poker pro Ari Engel tweeted in 2020 that he’s not confident the law will change anytime soon, but “regulating” online poker in New York would “be amazing.”

Similarly, Assemblyman Clyde Vanel said in 2018 that the disconnect within New York’s gambling industry is nonsensical. Commenting on legislation at the time, Vanel said that “folks can’t articulate why” live poker is legal but online poker isn’t.

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New York is not only home to dozens of live poker rooms but a host of world-class players. From Bryn Kenney and Isaac Haxton to Eric Seidel, Scott Seiver, and Vanessa Selbst, that Empire State has spawned some of the game’s best. Therefore, it’s hard to accept the idea that online poker won’t ever be legal in New York.

Not only is the state steeped in poker history, the foundations have been laid. Online sports betting has shown that regulation is possible. Senator Joseph Addabbo jumped on this in 2021 with Bill S00018. If he can attract support for his bill in 2022 from fellow politicians like Pretlow, we could see online poker legalized in New York at some point in the future.