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If you’re a New Yorker and enjoy playing poker, you might wonder what the laws are in your state. Are poker games legal in New York? Can you play for money? What about online poker? In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the New York Poker Laws so that you can stay informed.
We’ll also give you tips on avoiding any potential legal trouble. So whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner just starting, read on to learn more about the laws regulating poker in New York!
Where to Play Online Poker in New York
Regarding gambling, New York is best known for its brick-and-mortar casinos. However, did you know that you can also play online poker in New York? There are plenty of reputable offshore sites that accept players from the Empire State. And with so many options to choose from, finding the right place can be a bit daunting.
That’s why we’ve done the legwork for you and compiled a list of the best online poker sites for New Yorkers. So whether you’re looking for a challenging game of Texas Hold’em or want to Sit ‘n Go your way to a big win, one of these sites is sure to have what you’re looking for.
And who knows, with some luck, you might even be able to turn your online poker hobby into a full-fledged career! So what are you waiting for? Pick a site and start playing today.
Is Online Gambling Illegal in New York?
Online gambling is a popular pastime for many people in New York. However, there is some confusion about the legal status of online gambling in the state. The short answer is that online gambling is not currently illegal in New York. However, no laws explicitly regulate online gambling, meaning it falls into a legal grey area.
While there have been no prosecutions for online gambling in New York, the state has strict laws against illegal gambling. As a result, it is essential to be aware of the risks before participating in any online gambling activities in the United States.
New York Poker and Gambling Laws
New York poker laws are some of the most complicated in the United States. New York is among a few states that have carved out a specific exception for social gambling, defined as gambling conducted among friends where no one makes a profit. However, this exception does not apply to poker, meaning that all poker games in New York are technically illegal. There have been several attempts to legalize poker in recent years, but all of these efforts have failed.
New York’s gambling laws are also complex. For example, commercial casinos are only legal in a few specific locations, and there is only one casino in New York City. In addition, New York has stringent laws regulating sports betting, which means that bettors must either place their bets with one of the state-licensed Sportsbooks or through an online offshore bookmaker.
Fortunately, New York’s online gambling laws are much more relaxed than land-based ones, and many reputable online casinos and poker rooms accept New Yorkers. So as long as you’re careful and research your options, like looking into the New York State Gaming Commission licenses the site, you should be able to find a safe and legal way to gamble in New York.
A Detailed Look at New York Gambling Laws
The law in New York relating to gambling is summed up pretty briefly in New York General Obligations, Title 4, Section 5-401 (1): “Illegal wagers, bets, and stakes: All wagers, bets or stakes, made to depend on any race, or upon any gaming by lot or chance, or upon any lot, chance, causality, or unknown or contingent event whatever, shall be unlawful.”
So this is pretty broad, and would exclude pretty much any wager, but does it apply to poker? Well that has been the big question, and some have argued that if poker is a game of skill, then it may not.
In a famous case, United States v. DiChristina, Lawrence DiChristina had been found guilty of running an illegal gambling operation by hosting a poker game in a warehouse in Staten Island and collecting a rake for running it. The conviction then became overturned on appeal, where the judge ruled that existing law does not apply to poker because he found that poker is a game of skill and not chance.
This decision later was overturned on further appeal (2). The court in its ruling did not disagree that poker was not a game of chance but of skill, and restored the conviction for other reasons, but in order to be classified as illegal gambling the law only requires that the outcomes be “made to depend upon chance.”
So it depends on how outcome is to be defined, and while long term outcomes may depend upon skill, the outcomes of the bets themselves are certainly dependent upon chance. So the upholding of the conviction seems correct but for different reasons than the finding. However, since the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear this case, the ruling currently stands, and poker is considered to be illegal gambling by the courts.
New York Gambling Law Resources
- New York General Obligations, Title 4, Section 5-401, Illegal Wagers, Bets, and Stakes
- Federal Appeals Court Reverses the DiChristina Verdict
- New York State Senate Bill 6913
Short History of Gambling in New York
Gambling has been a part of New York life since the colonial era. Lotteries were used to finance early projects, such as constructing roads and bridges, and gambling houses were typical in cities like New York and Albany.
In 1821, gambling was formally legalized in New York, and horse racing quickly became a popular pastime.
Gambling in horse races continued to be popular throughout the 19th century, and by the early 20th century, there were dozens of racetracks across the state.
In 1931, New York became one of the first states to legalize casino gambling, and resorts such as Saratoga Springs and Niagara Falls became essential tourist destinations.
Today, gambling is still a popular pastime in New York, with casinos, racetracks, and lottery tickets all available; however, the legalization is still questionable.
The Future of Gambling in New York
Gambling has been a part of New York’s history for centuries. However, the rise of online gambling has made gambling more accessible than ever, and the introduction of sports betting has created a whole new market for gambling in New York. As a result, the future of gambling in New York is full of opportunities.
One of the most significant changes in gambling in New York has been the introduction of sports betting. Sports betting was legalized in 2019, and since then, it has quickly become one of the state’s most popular forms of gambling. Sports betting allows fans to wager on the outcome of sporting events, and many believe it will only continue to grow in popularity.
In addition to sports betting, there are numerous other gambling opportunities in New York. For example, horse racing is another popular form of gambling in the state, and there are currently four racetracks operating in New York. There is also a growing interest in casino gaming, and there are presently nine casinos in New York. With so many options available, it’s clear that gambling is here to stay in New York.
New York gambling laws are complex and ever-changing. As of right now, poker is only legal in brick-and-mortar casinos. So New Yorkers who want to play poker must travel to one of the state’s commercial casinos.
However, there is currently a bill pending in the New York State Legislature to legalize online poker. If this bill passes, New Yorkers will be able to play poker from the comfort of their own homes. In the meantime, New Yorkers who want to play poker can do so by visiting one of the state’s commercial casinos. Thanks for reading!