If lawmakers want to include online poker as part of the 2017/2018 budget, they will have to act quickly.
The Senate recently included it on their budget but the Assembly has yet to act.
While it may seem early for the iPoker measure to be on an expiring timeline, the budget for Fiscal Year 2017/2018 has to be passed by month's end as the next FY in NY starts on April 1.
Senate Includes iPoker on State Budget
The good news coming out of New York this week is that the state Senate has included online poker regulation as part of its fiscal year 2017/2018 budget.
Presently, the state expects around $100 million during the first year of regulation due to the $10 million fee for licenses.
Right now, 10 of 12 casinos are expected to sign up. However, that number may jump to 11 as MGM recently purchased the Bethlehem Sands from Sheldon Adelson.
This news should be taken with a grain of salt. First, the Senate included iPoker in last year's budget proposal but took it out at the last minute.
Next, the Assembly has not included iPoker into their budget for 2017/2018. Whether this means anything will depend on whether Assemblyman Gary Pretlow keep his promise to back iPoker.
Time is Running Out - Sorta
Time is running out to get online poker passed for inclusion on the 2017/2018 budget. Both chambers have to approve the bill by March 31st in order for it to be included.
What's interesting about this is that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has also not included iPoker in his budget. One would assume that $100 million would be worth including.
There's still a couple of weeks for the Assembly and Senate to agree and get a bill passed and included into the budget. It would then go to Gov. Cuomo's desk for approval.
Some feel, including Assemblyman Pretlow, that there are those in Cuomo's administration that may block iPoker but Pretlow did not name anyone specifically.
While this scenario sounds a bit dire for New York, it is not "game over" even if iPoker isn't part of the budget.
A standalone bill could be moved through both chambers to pass iPoker after the budget is finalized.
Should this happen, lawmakers would have until June 21st to pass a measure.