New York Legal Poker 2018
New York has spawned some of the biggest legends in poker who have gone on to become major champions - players like Erik Seidel and Stu Ungar - and in 2018 New Yorkers are enjoying real money poker online every day.
While live poker has traditionally been restricted to backroom clubs in the heart of New York City, moves are afoot to regulate online poker for NY residents AND introduce major new land-based casinos in the state. Soon, you'll be able to play at legal poker sites in New York that are regulated by the state.
Empire State players may have to wait for fully legalized Internet poker sites of their own, but they can still enjoy real-money tournaments and cash games at dozens of online rooms in 2018.
Is Online Poker Legal in New York?
Treating poker as a legit activity in New York rests on its definition as a game of skill or chance. Under the laws of New York state, Penal Code 225.00 states:
"A person engages in gambling when he stakes or risks something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under his control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that he will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome."
But there are signs that poker is set to be treated under NY law as a game of skill rather than chance, like roulette or blackjack, and therefore exempt from any existing legislation. That's a positive sign for players trying to figure out the online poker NY legal situation.
Moving Ahead With New Legislation
Two recent moves look most likely to be the glimmer of hope online poker players in the state have been waiting for.
After a conviction against Lawrence DiCristina for running poker games in his NYC warehouse was overturned due to poker being classed as a game of skill by the lower court rather than a game of chance, it signalled a change in attitude in the Empire State.
Subsequently, a new Bill amending state law - Bill S6913 - has been put forward by New York Senator John Bonacic.
S6913 will seek to recognize poker as a game of skill, therefore opening to doors to online operators in the state. And that means we could very well see regulated online poker NY websites popping up soon.
Bonacic must now wait for the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering to approve the new law. Whether the fact that Senator Bonacic is the committee's current Chair will have any affect on the outcome of any approval is unknown, but we'll be following the online poker NY legal situation very carefully.
What's the Live Poker Scene Like In NY?
Mainly consisting of unregulated, underground poker dens, stretching back to the legendary Mayfair club where future stars like Stu Ungar, Erik Seidel and Howard Lederer all cut their teeth.
Although poker laws are yet to be passed in New York, existing laws do govern legal racetracks and racinos, with lotteries also permitted in the state. Since the 1960s - when the first state lottery was permitted - through to horse racing in the '70s and racinos in the decades that followed, there remains a sizeable land-based gambling presence in New York.
The biggest chance of online poker being regulated in the Empire State, however, is through the passing of new laws permitting land-based casino resorts.
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, passed legislation in 2013 which could see five to seven new casino resorts built within the state. And if some sort of online poker NY legislation gets passed, those new casinos could one day open up their own legal poker sites in New York.
The Future of Legal Poker In New York
Under the proposed new online gaming legislation introduced by Sen. Bonacic, only poker would be legalized - unlike in New Jersey, where online casino games are also permitted - so perhaps it would be a little easier for poker-only online sites to flourish.
While we may not see regulated Internet poker introduced in New York for at least a couple of years, Bill S6913 is the first sign of green shoots for fully legal online poker there.
One key stumbling block could be the Restoration of America's Wire Act bill backed by casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. The bill is pushing for a repeal of any relaxation on the 1961 Wire Act interpretation, and would effectively ban online poker across the entire country - that includes recently regulated states like Nevada and New Jersey.
Such a move would spell disaster for pro-Internet gaming supporters in New York and would scupper any new intrastate laws before they had even been passed. Right now, there's huge appetite for online poker. New York players want to play online and the state wants to make money from legal poker sites in NY, so there's equal fight on the pro-internet gaming side.
Can I Play Online Poker Legally in New York?
Yes. While there are no regulated legal online poker New York sites as of May 2018, players can still enjoy dozens of rooms open online to American players. We list many online poker NY sites right here that you can play at today.
What Age Do You Have to Be To Gamble There?
At regulated racinos in the state, you must be 21 or over.
Are There Any Live Casinos in the State?
Combined racetracks and casinos - or racinos - exist in New York. At Monticello Raceway, for example, the casino part of the complex has been incorporated into the racino's grandstand.
While the gambling is restricted to slot machines, some racinos are beginning to introduce gamesthe type of table games you see at online poker New York sites (the ones that offer casino games too), including roulette and blackjack. New legislation will see casino resorts expand to the Catskills and Albany.
Can I Make Real Cash Deposits In New York?
Yes. Although some credit card companies and banks still restrict US payments made to online poker rooms under the stipulations of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), Empire State residents can still enjoy the best poker sites in New York for real money.