New York Examining Online Gaming – 3rd Year in a Row

New York will hold a hearing about online poker in September — appearing to set the stage for the third straight year that an online gambling bill will appear in front of the legislature.

If and when New York regulates online gaming, what might the landscape look like?

For starters, setting the stage

The hearing in question — called by New York State Senator John Bonacic, the chairman of the Senate Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee — does not have a bill attached to it. It will be only exploratory in nature.

However, New York has been down this road before, as online poker has been the subject of bills in both 2014 and 2015, and little traction was gained either time.

The hope this time around is that all the stakeholders can have their say on legislation, before it is crafted, leading to some possible momentum for a bill.

One of the sticking points might be whether the “poker-only” language of the past is still Bonacic’s target, or whether online casino games will be included, as well. With online poker underperforming in New Jersey and Delaware, an iGaming bill in New York might need to allow casino games to have a chance.

But, if online poker and gambling does happen in the Empire State — and that’s a big if — here is how the market might shake out.

The following presumes that land-based operators would partner with online gaming operators, should an iGaming bill become law.

Possible relationships

888 and Turning Stone/Oneida Indian Nation

888 Poker is the sponsor of the TV show Poker Night in America. Twice, Turning Stone, located in Verona, has hosted PNiA.

Is that enough to guarantee the two would partner together in a regulated market? Perhaps not, but 888 is not sponsoring a U.S.-centric TV show without an eye to the future in possible regulated jurisdictions.

Genting Poker and Resorts World Casino

Resorts World Casino New York and a possible new casino near Monticello are both a part of the Genting Group conglomeration.

Genting operates its own online poker room. Although it has never made a foray into a regulated U.S. market, it would have an easy and logical entry point with its existing and coming casinos.

Rivers Casino, on its own or…?

Rivers Casino & Resort at Mohawk Bay is a site that has been recommended by the state gaming board. The new property will be operated by Rush Street Gaming, which already has two casinos in Pennsylvania — SugarHouse and Rivers Casino.

As Online Poker Report noted in a rundown of possible online/brick-and-mortar relationships in PA, RSG already has an interactive division. However, there’s no guarantee it wouldn’t look for a partner.

Also of note: a couple of RSG executives are board members for the company that oversees Fallsview Casino, the host of a World Poker Tour event. So, Rivers Casino has at least a link — albeit a seemingly weak one — with WPT sponsor PartyPoker.

Lago Resort & Casino and Boyd Gaming

Lago is another planned casino that has received a gaming board recommendationPeninsula Pacific, which is under the Boyd Gaming umbrella, is part of the group behind the casino. Boyd operates in New Jersey already.

Unknown racino relationships

Two brick and mortar operations — in The Fairgrounds Gaming Hamburg and Finger Lakes Gaming and Race Track in Farmington, respectively — are operated by Delaware North.

DN is not currently in the iGaming business, but as a large, global company, it could make an attractive partner for an online poker or gaming provider.

Here are the other race track/casinos in the state:

  • Batavia Downs Casino
  • Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway
  • Monticello Gaming & Raceway
  • Saratoga Casino and Raceway
  • Tioga Downs & Casino
  • Vernon Downs & Casino

Unknown tribal relationships

The tribal casinos have no obvious connection to an online gaming partner. The biggest prize would be landing a partnership with the Seneca Nation, which operates six different casinos in the state.

Seneca does have an existing relationship with MGT Capital for daily fantasy sports. However, MGT is in the midst of selling controlling interest in its DFS property, DraftDay. And it seems somewhat unlikely that MGT would be picked by Seneca for real-money casino and poker operations, should the opportunity arise.

Akwesasne Mohawk Casino is another tribal casino with no apparent iGaming ties.

Does PokerStars fit in?

The last time an online poker bill was introduced in New York, the “bad actor” clause had been removed, seemingly paving the way for the online poker giant.

Who would PokerStars partner with in New York, given the chance? So far, there are no obvious candidates.

In New Jersey, it has partnered with Resorts AC, which is run by the Mohegan tribe. In California, the site has partnered with tribes and card rooms.