It has been just a few weeks since the New York State Senate passed a budget which excluded plans for legalized online poker or online casinos. This was a presumably clear indication that the proposed bill represented nothing more than a pipe dream but, apparently, a recent Online Poker Report story suggests otherwise. The legalized online poker legislation still has a good shot at getting passed this year.
At the helm of the rejuvenated efforts is New York State Assemblyman Clyde Vanel who has called for the involvement of New York poker activists as he prepares to solicit for votes to support legislation that will finally allow for legal and regulated real money online poker in the state.
At the moment, the bill has 13 co-sponsors but Vanel expects it swell its ranks to “60 to 70 sponsors.” If this is truly the case, then bill A 5250 that was proposed by Assemblyman Gary Pretlow in a bid to legalize online poker, might finally be passed in the course of the year.
“Chairman Pretlow is a great champion for it, and now he has the partners to bring it through,” Vanel said in an interview with Online Poker Report. “The next few weeks will show some traction for the bill. With enough co-sponsors, I like it to get out of committee and onto the floor. I think we have a good shot at getting it through this year. My job is that I’m the guy who is going to whip these votes. That’s what I’m doing. I’m working these votes to get the bill on the floor, and I will be whipping votes on the floor.”
Vanel’s involvement, for one, makes the online poker community in New York more optimistic that they might finally be able to enjoy the games legally. The lawmaker’s attitude of fortitude is what has been missing all along in the New York online poker scene. He managed to get more than 60 Democrats in the Assembly to sign a letter that supported the inclusion of online poker in the budget. Now, the task at hand is to transfer all those signatures to co-sponsors of the bill and maybe get more on board.
“The budget effort didn’t work, but that happens with negotiations,” Vanel said. “What the exercise did is make us see that there’s more support for online poker than we previously thought.”
Suppose the proposed bill is passed at the Assembly, “it will have no problem getting through the Senate.”