New York gambling laws allow several forms of gaming, but lag behind other US state gambling laws when it comes to online gambling. NY state has plenty of land-based casinos and race tracks, but its legislature has not legalized sports betting, online casinos, or online poker. Lawmakers are considering sportsbook and online gambling bills in 2019, but both remain in doubt at present.
The NY government is missing out on hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue each year from online gambling. New York charitable gambling is substantial, with hundreds of bingo halls. The New York State Lottery was one of the first lotto games in the country and remains a powerhouse in the Powerball and Mega Millions multi-state lottery associations. Meanwhile, New York’s land-based casino industry includes tribal casinos and commercial casinos.
New York has 4 commercial casinos and over a dozen tribal casinos. Because new developments like Del Lago Resort, Rivers Casino in Schenectady, and Resorts World Catskills struggled to meet revenue projections, some analysts believe the gaming market is oversaturated. Tribal casino believe the new casinos are a drag on their businesses.
New York City has two land-based slots casinos. Resorts World Queens on the site of Aquaduct Raceway and Empire City Casino on the site of Yonkers Raceway are the only two gaming facilities in the greater New York metropolitan area. The New York Gaming Commission does not want to place venues in the city, because it would hurt the Upstate New York casinos even further.
New York Gambling Laws
What Type of Gambling is Legal in New York?
Online Poker Laws
Sports Betting & Daily Fantasy in NY
Casinos in NY
NY Horse Betting
NY Bingo Halls
New York Gambling FAQ
Timeline of NY Gambling Laws
Like most states, New York defines gambling with fine language. New York’s legislature spent a lot of time on the concept of a “contest of chance”, with two separate passages dwelling on this definition.
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.
The element of chance is a key factor in New York gambling. This partly is defined as an event not under a person’s control or influence.
“Contest of chance” means any contest, game, gaming scheme or gaming device in which the outcome depends in a material degree upon an element of chance, notwithstanding that skill of the contestants may also be a factor therein.
A contest of chance might be a game of pure chance, or it might be a game based “in a material degree upon an element of chance”. This means bets on games which has a high degree of skill — like poker, sports betting, or DFS — are considered a contest of chance, because these games have some element of luck.
A person who gambles at a social game of chance on equal terms with the other participants therein does not otherwise render material assistance to the establishment, conduct or operation thereof by performing, without fee or remuneration, acts directed toward the arrangement or facilitation of the game, such as inviting persons to play, permitting the use of premises therefor and supplying cards or other equipment used therein.
Social casinos are specifically exempted from New York gambling laws. A “social game of chance on equal terms” in which neither person works for the organizer is legal. Well, it’s legal if no “fee or remuneration” is involved.
No, but State Sen. John Bonacic and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow have submitted online poker bills several times. The bill passed in the NY Senate, but died in the General Assembly. On two occasions, online poker NY looked as if it had a real chance to succeed. It should be noted that online casinos have never been included in New York online betting bills, because casino resorts fear their effect on table games and slots revenues.
As 2019 opens, John Bonacic has retired and Joseph Addabbo has taken his place as the chairman of the Senate Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee. From that perch, Sen. Addabbo has sponsored a new online poker bill. With a new legislature, the bill might pass this time. Before we discuss the future, let’s take a look at the past.
State Sen. John Bonacic sponsored several versions of Senate Bill 18, which would legalize online poker but not online casinos. S 18 proposed to classify New York poker as a game of skill, which would make it legal in New York state. In 2015 and 2016, various versions of S 18 passed in the New York Senate, but failed in the General Assembly.
Once, Gary Pretlow wanted to speak with officials in New Jersey‘s Division of Gaming Enforcement before supporting it. The next year, Pretlow tried to pass the betting bill before a late June recess, but budgets talks consumed the remaining time in the session.
With John Bonacic’s retirement from the New York Senate in December 2018, Sen. Jospeh Addabbo became the main sponsor of the New York online poker bill in 2019 and beyond (if needed).
On January 9, 2019, State Sen. Joseph Addabbo introduced Senate Bill 18, which would legalize online poker in New York state. This is the 7th straight year that the New York State Legislature has considered an online poker bill, so it is uncertain whether Abbaddo’s bill will be any different.
The key passage of SB 18 states: “Allows certain interactive poker games be considered games of skill rather than games of luck; includes definitions, authorization, required safeguards and minimum standards, the scope of licensing review and state tax implications; makes corresponding penal law amendments.”
Online and mobile sports betting is not legal in New York, though Sen. John Bonacic filed the S 7900 New York sports betting bill in the Senate in 2018. Still, more than one Las Vegas sportsbook operator has determined sports betting eventually will be legal in New York.
In December 2018, MGM Resorts bought Yonkers Raceway, which contains Empire City Casino (racino), hoping it would become a sportsbook one day. Meanwhile, Caesars Entertainment signed a partnership deal with the Oneida Indian Nation (OIN) to operate a sportsbook at the Oneida tribe’s three New York casinos: Turning Stone, Point Place, and Yellow Brick Road Casino.
Jeff Gural’s Tioga Downs has a sportsbook deal in place with Paddy Power-Betfair, if New York’s legislature ever passed a sports betting bill. Even Las Vegas Sands has begun making political friends in New York, in hopes of one day building a casino and sportsbook in the Albany area (according to New York media reports).
Yes. New York has 17 tribal casinos owned by a variety of tribes, including the Seneca Nation and the Oneida Indian Nation. The tribal casinos are spread throughout the Upstate New York area. Nine race track-casinos or “racinos” exist in the state at places like Tioga Downs, Yonkers Raceway, and Aquaduct Raceway in Queens.
|Casino / Location||Casino Details|
|Point Place Casino | Bridgeport||500 Gaming Machines, 20 Poker and Gaming Tables|
|Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino | Buffalo||800 Gaming Machines, 18 Poker and Gaming Tables|
|SavOn | Canastota||14 Gaming Machines|
|Yellow Brick Road Casino | Chittenango||447 Gaming Machines, 14 Poker and Gaming Tables|
|Seneca Gaming and Entertainment | Cuba||111 Gaming Machines|
|Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort | Hogansburg||1,600 Gaming Machines, 5 Poker Tables, 27 Gaming Machines, 450 Bingo Seats|
|Seneca Gaming and Entertainment | Irving||600 Gaming Machines, 650 Bingo Seats|
|Jake’s 58 Hotel and Casino | Islandia||1,000 Gaming Machines, Race Book|
|Resorts World Casino New York City | Jamaica||4,400 Gaming Machines|
|Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel | Niagara Falls||4,500 Gaming Machines, 23 Poker Tables, 100 Gaming Tables|
|Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel | Salamanca||1,600 Gaming Machines, 5 Poker Tables, 26 Gaming Tables|
|Seneca Gaming and Entertainment | Salamanca||344 Gaming Machines, 5 Poker and Gaming Tables, 455 Bingo Seats|
|Rivers Casino & Resort | Schenectady||1,150 Gaming Machines, 15 Poker Tables, 67 Gaming Tables|
|Lakeside Entertainment | Union Springs||86 Gaming Machines|
|SavOn Casino | Verona||31 Gaming Machines|
|Turning Stone Resort Casino | Verona||1,800 Gaming Machines, 32 Poker Tables, 94 Gaming Tables, 1,400 Bingo Seats|
|del Lago Resort & Casino | Waterloo||1,980 Gaming Machines, 14 Poker Tables, 99 Gaming Tables|
Yes. New York has 3 traditional race tracks and 9 race track casinos. These are the located throughout western New York, the Finger Lakes region, and the Catskills. Belmont Park is the most famous horse track in New York. Each year, Belmont Park is home to the Belmont Stakes – the third and final leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown.
If the winner of the Kentucky Derby goes on to win the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico, Belmont Park becomes the center of the horse racing, betting, and sports world for one Saturday evening in early June. ‘If the Triple Crown isn’t on the line, then the Belmont Stakes is a bit of an afterthought.
The full list of New York race tracks can be found below.
|Horse Track | Location||Track Details|
|Belmont Park | Elmont||Race Book|
|Aqueduct Racetrack | Jamaica||Race Book|
|Saratoga Race Course | Saratoga Springs||Race Book|
New York state also has 9 racetrack-casinos, also known as racinos. These horse racing tracks include a slots casinos with hundreds or thousands of slots. A couple of them even house poker tables.
|Racino | Location||Racino Details|
|Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel | Batavia||838 Gaming Machines, Race Book|
|Finger Lakes Casino & Racetrack | Farmington||1,549 Gaming Machines, Race Book|
|Hamburg Gaming | Farmington||940 Gaming Machines|
|Monticello Casino and Raceway | Monticello||1,110 Gaming Machines, Race Book|
|Resorts World Catskills | Monticello||2,150 Gaming Machines, 19 Poker Tables, 150 Gaming Tables|
|Tioga Downs Casino | Nichols||944 Gaming Machines, 12 Poker Tables, 23 Gaming Tables|
|Saratoga Casino Hotel | Saratoga Springs||1,707 Gaming Machines, Race Book|
|Vernon Downs Casino & Hotel | Vernon||767 Gaming Machines, Race Book|
|Empire City at Yonkers Raceway | Yonkers||5,000 Gaming Machines|
Yes. New York has a variety of off-track betting facilities. These OTBs have simulcasting for over 200 tracks throughout the United States. Dozens of off-track betting facilities exist across New York state. Here is a sampling of the prominent OTBs in the state. Yes. New York has a variety of off-track betting facilities. These OTBs have simulcasting for over 200 tracks throughout the United States. Dozens of off-track betting facilities exist across New York state. Here is a sampling of the prominent OTBs in the state.
|OTB | Location||OTB Details|
|Capital OTB: Wolf Road | Albany||Race Book|
|Capital OTB: Amsterdam | Amsterdam||Race Book|
|Stroh’s Tavern | Angola||Race Book|
|Cardland | Bohemia||Race Book|
|Western OTB: Delaware | Buffalo||Race Book|
|Western OTB: McKinley | Buffalo||Race Book|
|Savino’s Finish Line East | Deer Park||Race Book|
|Western OTB: French | Depew||Race Book|
|Village Rock Cafe | East Rochester||Race Book|
|Nassau Downs OTB | Franklin Square||Race Book|
|Capital OTB | Gloversville||Race Book|
|Capital OTB | Hudson||Race Book|
|Georgie O’s | Hyde Park||Race Book|
|Menna’s Main Event Sports Bar & Grill | Merrick||Race Book|
|Interbets OTB | Norwich||Race Book|
|Grumpy Jack’s | Port Jefferson||Race Book|
|Capital OTB | Queensbury||Race Book|
|Tucci’s | Rochester||Race Book|
|Western OTB: Jefferson | Rochester||Race Book|
|Western OTB: Lyell Broad | Rochester||Race Book|
|Western OTB: Marway | Rochester||Race Book|
|Western OTB: West Ridge | Rochester||Race Book|
|Boulevard Bowl | Schenectady||Race Book|
|Capital OTB: Bellevue||Race Book|
|Capital OTB: Smith Street | Schenectady||Race Book|
|Capital OTB: Woodlawn | Schenectady||Race Book|
|Capital OTB: Lansingburgh | Troy||Race Book|
|Harry’s Place | Waterloo||Race Book|
Does New York allow charitable gambling?Yes. Charitable gambling takes the form of raffles instead of bingo halls, though New Yorkers can find bingo gambling in tribal casinos and local charities. The Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn all have bingo halls. The aggregate prize maximum is $6000, while the maximum single prize limit for bell jar games increased is $1000. The threshold for unlicensed raffles sits at $30,000.Category 2 raffles no longer require a GCVS2 filing at the conclusion of a raffle. Effective June 16, 2018, Chapter 464 allows the sale of online raffle tickets and mobile raffle tickets.
This is a small sampling of the hundreds of charitable bingo halls throughout the state of New York.
|Bingo Hall | Location||Bingo Hall Details|
|Bronxdale Bingo Hall | Bronx||300 Bingo Seats|
|Fifth Avenue Bingo Hall | Brooklyn||800 Bingo Seats|
|Island Bingo | Farmingville||298 Bingo Seats|
|Gates Bingo | Westmar||2 Progressive Split Pots Most Nights|
|Maspeth Bingo Hall | Maspeth||520 Bingo Seats|
|110 Bingo Hall | Melville||297 Bingo Seats|
|Top Bingo Hall | Queens Village||250 Bingo Seats|
|Richmond Hill Bingo Hall | Richmond Hill||150 Bingo Seats|
|Schenectady Bingo Palace | Schenectady||In business 21 years.|
|Bingo Green | Troy||500 Bingo Seats|
Yes. Online social casinos like Zynga, Double Down, Slotomania, and Big Fish Games are available for New Yorkers. MyVegas by MGM Resorts is also available. MGM Resorts owns Yonkers Raceway & Empire City Casino, so MyVegas social casino offers MGM Resorts rewards points you can use at the Yonkers facility.Private poker games among friends are technically banned, but you aren’t likely to get in trouble if you don’t charge a rake. New York authorities busted high roller poker games with Wall Street bankers and Hollywood celebrities, which had perhaps $100 million in poker rake. If that isn’t your intention, a private card game likely won’t be raided.
Readers might not have found the answers they seek in the space above. We’ve provided answers to frequently asked questions below. We hope our NY gambling FAQ gives you the information you need.
State Sen. Joseph Addabbo introduced an online poker bill in 2019, but the bill failed to pass through the legislature. Despite the 2019 failure, New York state is one of the leading candidates to legalize online gambling in 2020. Because New York does not have online gaming regulations, the industry is in a legal gray area where it is neither regulated nor prosecuted.Joseph Addabbo took over as Chair of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee from the retired Sen. John Bonacic, who was a longtime supporter of online gambling. Addabbo, a second generation NY politician, now is the ranking supporter of iGaming in New York state.
No. New Yorkers would be prosecuted for operating an online gambling site in the Empire State, but the state officials do not prosecute individual citizens for gambling online. NY players sign up at offshore online casinos and poker sites. These sites are regulated by international regulatory agencies, but New Yorkers do not have consumer protections. For that reason, it’s very important that players research the online cardrooms and casinos they use. Reading honest reviews and player complaints is the best way to choose a NY online poker room.
Online poker exists in a legal gray area, where cardplayers can sign up at unregulated offshore iPoker sites. At the same time, they cannot play in regulated online poker rooms the way residents in New Jersey or Pennsylvania can. Online poker players must read detailed reviews of internet card rooms to assure they pick honest gaming operators.
Online casinos are not regulated by New York authorities. New Yorkers play online, but without responsible gaming resources or consumer protections. Again, it is important for NY online casino gamblers to choose trustworthy operators, which requires truthful online casino reviews like you’ll find on this site.It might always be so. The New York State Gaming Commission authorized a study of online gambling in August 2019. The research focuses on the feasibility and potential tax revenues of online poker and online casinos. The study is sweeping, including a report on existing land-based casinos and the inclusion of three more New York City-area land-based casinos. In 2020, the New York iGaming study likely will report on the advantages of legalizing online casinos.
A 2013 referendum approved sports betting in New York state, but limited sports betting to four upstate New York land-based casinos. State regulations allow tribal casinos to offer sports betting, too. Rivers Casino in Schenectady launched a sportsbook in July, while FanDuel Sportsbook at Tioga Downs in Nichols launched shortly after.Whether online sportsbooks eventually launch are another matter. Mobile sportsbooks and sports betting apps are strictly banned, while Gov. Andrew Cuomo is said to oppose sports betting in general. Expect to see this issue heat up in 2020, but for now, players cannot wager at regulated online bookmakers.
Lottery bettors must be 18 years of age to buy a lotto ticket or scratch-off. Casino gamblers must be 18 years or older, unless alcohol is served on the premises. If so, then the gambler must be 21 years or older. Charitable gambling in bingo halls has no minimum age.
The people of New York ratified the state’s 2nd constituion in a statewide vote in January 15-17, 1822. This constitution banned gambling. The law took effect on December 31, 1822.
New York strictly banned public lotteries. Lottery companies in the 19th century lacked the transparency of today and often were corrupt.
During the Progressive Era (1890s-1920s), New York banned all forms of gambling. This was an era when trustbusting, the sufferage movement, and the prohibition of alcohol were causes.
Legal race tracks were opened in the wake of the pari-mutuel betting law.
Bingo halls operated by charitable organizations were legalized. State officials set up a regulatory authority for charitable bingo.
The New York lotto was legalized, making it one of the first state lotteries in 20th century America.
The NY State Gaming Commission created the ‘State Racing And Wagering Board’ to oversee pari-mutuel wagering and race tracks.
Native American casinos became legal in 1993. The Oneida Tribe opened its first casino later in the year. This bill followed the 1988 Federal ‘Indian Gaming Regulation Act’, which followed a landmark US Supreme Court decision in 1986 (Cabazon v. California).
New York officials legalized sports betting, on the stipulation the PASPA federal ban was ever repealed. This would happen in May 2018, though New York legislators and regulators have yet to agree on NY sports betting laws.