Guide: Online Gambling in New York

The great state of New York has earned a pretty lousy reputation when it comes to gambling. That all came about after a series of scandals cracking down on different types of betting over the years. A big setback occurred on Black Friday in 2011 when the state opened a criminal case against several online poker companies. In the end, the poker sites had to shut down and pay up big time, leaving online gambling to the wayside for quite some time in the Empire State.

Looking back, New York State always had a contrary stance against gambling. In 1833, it became the first state in the country to ban lotteries. The prohibition against gambling lasted for decades, at least legally anyway. Illegitimate underground gambling took place on a massive scale controlled by mobsters throughout the state.

Things changed, however, when the state warmed up to several types of betting. It started when bingo betting became legal in 1957. Then, in 1966, the New York lottery first started. Not long after, the New York State government passed legislation to allow off-track betting on horse racing in 1970. The law permitted pari-mutuel (or pooled) wagering.

Since, residents and visitors to the Empire State have been able to legally wager on horse races through Simulcast systems while watching races around the United States from TV screens. Racinos, in which punters can place bets on races using gaming machines, have become very popular statewide.

Gambling eventually started to pick up in New York with the opening of its tribal casinos. The state gave Native Americans the opportunity to legally offer gambling with top-tier “class-3” casino games like slots and table games in 2001 in order to raise state revenue. Tribal casinos started to open throughout the state hosting a wide range of casino and poker games. In the same year, NY lawmakers permitted video lottery terminals at some of the pre-existing race tracks, now called racinos.

After that, New York State began jumping on the lottery bandwagon. In 2002, the state started selling multi-state lottery tickets like The Big Game, now called Mega Millions. Then in 2010, New York joined the Powerball.

New York Tribal Casinos

Today, the state has a range of gambling establishments. Tribal casinos on Native American lands exist including Akwesasne Mohawk Casino, Lakeside Entertainment, Mohawk Bingo Palace and Casino, Point Place Casino, Seneca Allegany Casino, Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, Seneca Gaming and Entertainment Irving, Seneca Gaming and Entertainment Oil Spring, Seneca Gaming and Entertainment Salamanca, Seneca Niagara Casino, Turning Stone Resort & Casino, and Yellow Brick Road Casino.

New York Commercial Casinos

New York State also has commercial casinos available. The popular Del Lago Resort and Casino in Tyre, New York permits all types of table games. Rivers Casino & Resort and Tioga Downs & Casino also allow every type of table game. Other commercial casinos include Resorts World Catskills in Kiamesha Lake and Jake’s 58 Hotel & Casino in Islandia.

New York Racinos

As legalized gambling began to emerge throughout the Empire State, some of the pre-existing racing tracks got the thumbs-up to offer video lottery games and slots. These so-called “racinos” have popped up all over the state. Each host different types of betting options.

For example, the Resorts World New York City in Ozone Park, Queens has only automated table games at their facility. Outside of NYC, the state has various popular racinos such as Batavia Downs Casino, Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway, The Fairgrounds Gaming, Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack, Saratoga Casino and Raceway, and Vernon Downs & Casino.

…But what about online casinos in New York?

Budget deficits in the Empire State have led legislatures to take a serious look at legalizing online gambling to generate extra revenue. Although NY Governor Andrew Cuomo has spoken out fervently against the legalization of online sports book or online casinos in the past, the tides seem to be turning.

Two NY senators, in particular, have championed the passage of a bill that would at least permit online sports betting. Assemblyman Gary Pretlow (D-89th) along with Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D-15th) have hinted that Governor Cuomo may consider signing a bill very soon to legalize online gambling in NY. With the budget due in 2019, the real possibility of NY online sports betting could arrive very soon.

While it hasn’t passed yet, the proposed bill has outlined the type of online sports bets that NY state will allow. That includes:

  • Tier one: A bet based on the final score.
  • Tier two: A bet made during the game, often called “in-play” betting.
  • Tier three: A bet that doesn’t fall under either tier one or tier two categories. Usually, this would include prop bets like guessing the Super Bowl MVP.

Whether you want to place some bets in the Big Apple or prefer the country air by the Finger Lakes, New York has lots of gambling establishments statewide. However, when it comes to online betting, red tape has prevented the full legalization of online casinos. Still, many expect online sports betting to pass sometime in 2019.

Gambling in New York: What’s Legal?

  • Year New York regulated offline and online gambling: Offline in 1957, online pending as of 2019
  • New York gambling age: 21
  • Legal online casino games in New York: Bingo, lottery, slots, poker, and horse racing
  • Number of commercial casinos: 5

New York has very specific and varied laws when it comes to gambling. Some casinos have the right to offer a full range of games including slots, poker rooms and popular table games. Meanwhile, other gambling establishments can only offer certain types of betting like racing and slots. To make things even more confusing, the legal gambling age also varies from casino to casino. Some places accept 18-year-olds while others require gamblers to be at least 21 years of age.

New York has many commercial casinos, racinos and tribal casinos across the state. If you plan to visit any, make sure to check in advance to find out the games allowed and legal gambling age for that particular casino.

New York has a highly regulated gambling market. Whether a racino, tribal casino, or commercial casino, each establishment has its own policies as to which games it can legally offer. As long as gamblers follow the rules, the police won’t cause too much trouble, and the state rarely targets legal gambling or players.

That being said, New York doesn’t mess around when it comes to illegal gambling and cracks down heavily on underground betting. Those caught could get arrested, pay fines or even wind up facing jail time. Below you can find a few things you should know in order to avoid participating in illegal gambling in New York:

  • The state prosecutes at-home poker games, and those caught could face arrest.
  • Underground poker clubs and other illegal forms of gambling have become prevalent throughout the state. The authorities will arrest and prosecute those caught participating in these illegal underground gambling.
  • Banned gambling activities in New York State include: possession of illegal gambling devices, promotion of illegal gambling and illegal bookmaking.

Online Casinos in New York: What You Should Know

Americans may have heard the buzz about online betting lately in the United States. That results from a 2018 US Supreme Court decision that ended a nationwide ban on sports betting. Now, many already gambling-friendly states like Nevada and New Jersey have pushed this further by allowing online sports book and legal online casinos. Even other less obvious states like West Virginia and Rhode Island have passed legislation allowing online casinos and sports book.

Now New Yorkers have their thoughts on what lies ahead for legislation in the state. Huge budget deficits have led state senators to push down hard on the idea of legalizing online gambling to at least allow online sports book. State Governor Andrew Cuomo does not feel so enthusiastic about the idea. However, Senator Joseph Addabbo responded by saying, “We have time to impress on the governor how serious the budget deficit is, and how we can address it credibly with mobile wagering.” The serious debate may finally lead to the legalization of online sports book, especially with the budget due in the spring of 2019.

For now, the New York residents and visitors within the state can legally participate in the following betting activities:

  • Pari-mutuel betting
  • Betting on horse racing
  • Charitable gambling
  • Lotteries
  • Commercial casinos
  • Tribal casinos
  • Racinos
  • Bingo
  • Social, private gambling allowed

How to Choose the Best Online Casino in New York

Although New York state hasn’t legalized online casinos quite yet, many expect that online sports book will come to NY very soon. New York residents can also travel to nearby states for a chance to play online casino games and bet on sports. In anticipation of the legalization of online sports book and potentially online casinos in the Empire State, we put together a guide for how to choose the best online casino in New York.

Types of Casino Games

New York State will likely pass laws legalizing sports book online. Once that legislation goes through, casino apps will begin to emerge offering different betting options. When choosing an online casino, you’ll want to check out the betting choices before taking the time to register and place bets.

If you consider yourself a lifetime Giants fan or root for the Yankees, you’ll want to make sure that the online sports book has those bets available. You may also want to look for other types of betting options like esports and fantasy sports. Either way, you’ll save yourself a lot of time checking ahead to see if the site has the sports and events available on their site for betting.

Welcome Bonus and Sign Up Offers

If you haven’t joined an online casino before, you’ll want to look for gambling sites with big welcome bonuses and sign up offers. Often these bonuses will offer free spins to play slots, free bets for sports, cash back offers or match your first several deposits. When it comes to a welcome bonus, the bigger the better. Before joining, compare the sign up bonuses at different gambling sites to find the best.

Ongoing Bonuses and Promotions

Punters should look for ongoing bonuses for returning players as well. Online casinos and sports betting sites should offer lucrative bonuses for loyal players. Once New York State legalizes online betting, you’ll want to look for sports book bonuses like free play, cash back, match deposits and other bonuses. You can check the promotions calendar or review the promotions section of the website to find out what the site gives to current members.

VIP Clubs and Loyalty Programs

The best online casinos will give back to their players with plenty of rewards, freebies and bonuses. If you love to gamble and plan to bet often, choose a legal NY online sports book that has a VIP program. Often times, VIP Clubs will give away tickets to exclusive events, access passes to sporting events, rewarding bonuses, dedicated customer support and other benefits.

You may also come across loyalty points programs. Typically, players will earn points for every wager. As the points accumulate, you rise in the ranks and earn a higher player status. This qualifies you for all kinds of benefits, from cash prizes to vacation giveaways. The casino may match your deposits with free casino credits for betting. So if you plan to stick with a gambling site, make sure they offer a loyalty points program to get the biggest bang out of your buck.

New York Online Casino Reviews: What Do Other Players Have to Say?

Online casino reviews provide an excellent source of information for online gamblers. Many online gambling portals will keep you, especially New Yorkers, up to date on the latest developments in online gambling laws. You can make sure to be the first to find out when New York online casinos begin to operate within the state.

As new gambling sites open online, you can find out the best NY online casinos through word of mouth. Player forums and reviews give feedback on what to expect before you commit to an online casino and become a member. This will also serve as a source of information to help avoid any illegal online casinos or sports book.

Online Casino Customer Support

Before joining an online casino, you’ll also want to make sure the site treats their players right. The best New York online casinos should have customer support available through a number of channels such as live chat, toll-free phone support, email and online contact form. Ideally, the online casino will offer 24/7 support in case you need assistance at any time of day or night. If not, the site should at least have support during business hours in the EST time zone so you can reach customer service during reasonable hours.

The Bottom Line on New York Online Gambling

The state of New York has attracted a lot of attention recently regarding online gambling. Lawmakers continue to debate over whether or not to pass the bill legalizing New York online gambling. Although Governor Andrew Cuomo opposed online betting in the past, Gary Pretlow (D-89th) and Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D-15th) have pushed back in support of passing NY online sports book. The buck has to stop somewhere, and with the state budget in a deficit, it looks highly likely that online betting will pass in NY state very soon sometime in 2019.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are New York Online Casinos Legal for Non-New York Residents?chevron

Although state lawmakers continue to push forward on passing the New York online gambling bill, the state still hasn’t quite gotten there. Yet many other US states have already passed laws allowing online gambling and online sports book within their borders. Typically, the laws allow both residents and visitors to participate in online betting as long as they stay within state lines while wagering. However, with NY legislation still up in the air, it remains to be seen whether or not New York will allow non-residents to bet at online casinos.

So who will be able to gamble at New York sports book online? Just like at regular casinos, players will need to meet certain age requirements. The proposed bill may set the age at either 18 or 21 to reflect the laws of current brick-and-mortar casinos.

Meanwhile, online sports book will likely prevent certain people from participating in online betting such as amateur and pro athletes, team employees, referees, team owners, and other sports personnel. If you fall under those categories, make sure to double check if you can legally bet on online sports book once it passes in the state of New York.

What types of games do New York online casinos have available?chevron

It remains to be seen whether or not New York will allow non-residents to bet at online casinos. Currently, NY has not officially legalized any form of online gambling. However, state legislators have been quite vocal about what to expect in the future for New York online casinos. While lawmakers have warmed up to online sports book, it doesn’t seem likely that the state will allow other types of online casino games like slots, Blackjack, Roulette, Craps and poker.

Can I play online casino in New York if I don't live there?chevron

Because New York hasn’t yet passed laws permitting online sports book, residents and visitors alike can’t play online casinos within state borders. However, the law may change fairly soon. If you do want to try out some online sports book, esports, fantasy sports, and other forms of online betting, nearby states like Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey have passed laws legalizing online casinos for both residents and visitors.

Do offshore online casinos operate in New York?chevron

Currently, laws don’t permit any online casinos to operate in New York. While the state has a plethora of brick-and-mortar tribal casinos, commercial casinos and racinos all over New York, gamblers can’t place bets online. That means that the state does not have any offshore online casinos currently operating, although many of the laws may change in the near future.