New York may not yet legalize online poker, but the state has made strides when it comes to land-based options. As of 2018, New York boasts four commercial and 16 tribal casinos which offer various gaming options, such as poker rooms where players can participate in cash games or tournaments live; additionally, charitable bingo and educational lotteries have also been legalized within its borders.
New Yorkers continue to debate the legality of poker games in New York. Up until recently, New York state law considered poker to be illegal because it was defined as a game of chance that could not be regulated. But after Lawrence DiCristina was arrested for running an illegal poker game in 2011, he successfully appealed his conviction by citing poker’s classification as a skill-based activity instead.
Since that time, lawmakers in New York have introduced several bills to legalize online poker in the state. While some of them have passed successfully and others failed, there remains hope that New York will soon become home to legal online poker sites.
New York residents can still play for real money at offshore poker sites that use geolocation tools to ensure players log on legally within their state, using similar measures that were employed when legalizing daily fantasy sports in New York. Furthermore, New Yorkers may travel nearby states like New Jersey or Pennsylvania and play real money poker there too.
New York does not explicitly criminalize online poker, but does make operating an illicit gambling operation a crime. If you or anyone you know needs help with gambling issues, assistance is available – call 877-8-HOPENY or text “HOPENY” to 818 for immediate support.
Many factors have contributed to the failure of legislation intended to license and regulate online poker in New York. Of particular note is how sports betting’s growing popularity has overshadowed attempts to establish licensed poker in the state; moreover, its profit potential exceeds that of poker gambling; finally some politicians have indicated their preference for seeing sports betting take place first before considering online poker regulation legislation.
Legislators supporting online poker have attempted to introduce legislation for legalizing it both in 2021 and this year. Although the proposal did not pass, proponents remain vocal. Some lawmakers even proposed changing state laws so as to classify poker as a game of skill rather than chance; an approach used successfully with legalizing daily fantasy sports.
New York has enough residents to support multiple online poker sites and has relatively relaxed attitudes toward gambling in general, but licensing and regulating this form of online gambling will take time before licensing is in effect. Meanwhile, New Yorkers have access to charity bingo and sports betting – options they should take advantage of immediately!