Online poker is a fast-emerging form of entertainment for many residents of New York today. Many people have the impression that because most online poker games are illegal in the state harsh penalties apply. However, this isn’t the case. There are no penalties associated with online poker in NY and no chance of being prosecuted.
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Poker History and Laws in NY
Online poker in NY has a long history indeed. Many events have shaped the industry and framed the current state of the market.
2001:The Empire State made tribal casinos legal and began permitting the conversion of racetracks to racinos.
2013: Legislators passed the Upstate New York Economic Development Gaming Act. This was a promising step for the state as commercial casinos were now available to players.
2015: The S05302 NY Online Poker Bill was introduced by John Bonacic. It proposed that online poker gaming should become legal.
2019: Senator Joseph Addabbo introduced the S00018 bill, proposing that the state should view online poker as a game of skill. Eleven online poker operators became licensed in NY.
2021: A statement made by the NY governor Andrew Cuomo, seemingly approving of mobile betting, raised hopes of the legalization of online poker.. This was in contrast with how gloomy things seemed in January of that year, when casino gaming online wasn’t considered by legislators at all.
Many market-defining events have occurred in the past few years for online poker in New York. For instance, in April 2011 the district attorney for southern New York pressed charges against Ultimate Bet, Absolute Poker, Full Tilt, and PokerStars, in what is now known as Black Friday.
In 2011, New Yorkers proceeded to query the Wire Act in the state, demanding to know why gambling was deemed illegal. They were one of only two states who made this move at the time. When citizens pressured lawmakers to crosscheck the act; they discovered that the act didn’t apply to online poker, making the provisions for internet card games listed in the UIGEA irrelevant. This started a wave of change across other states, as they also began introducing state-regulated poker and reintroducing sites like PartyPoker and PokerStars. Sadly, the Empire State doesn’t offer state-regulated gaming to New Yorkers.
Players can still enjoy online poker in New York as offshore casinos do offer services within the state.
Is Online Poker Legal in NY?
Some of the most notable players today have the underground New York cardrooms to thank for their mastery of the game. However, there are certain legal restrictions in terms of internet poker. For example, may only enjoy online poker when they travel to New Jersey or Pennsylvania.
Players can access poker games on sweepstake sites like Global Poker. Sweepstake sites use a model where players can buy gold coins to play games and win sweep coins. When they accumulate sufficient sweep coins, they can trade them for cash and other prizes.
Over the last few years, some commercial casinos have thrived in New York. Here, players benefit from round-the-clock tournaments and games. Thankfully, players can enjoy poker games at many existing NY tribal casinos.
However, players who desire to play in real-money online casinos in NY as of 2021 cannot.
When Will Online Poker Be Legal in NY?
At this point, the question, “Is online poker legal in New York?” has been answered. Now the question is t, “Why?” and when can we expect an overhaul of the current state of things with online poker in NY?
Legislators have been making moves to see that things change. For instance, since the underground card rooms were permitted to operate in 2013, these legislators have been trying hard to pass a bill to promote online gambling. Sadly, there has not been much progress made.
We can safely say that online and mobile sports betting has started to take root and make waves in the Empire State. This looks promising for the future of real-money online poker in New York. All hopes are hanging on bill S00018, which allows the law to view poker as a game of skill. The success of this bill could redefine the current perception and acceptance of NY online poker sites.
The proposal of Senator Addabbo’s bill includes:
- There should be at least eleven NY online poker licenses.
- The New York State Gaming Commission must regulate all sites.
- Every license should have unlimited skins.
- Players must be at least 21 years old to participate.
- Video lottery and tribal casino facilities can apply for licenses.
- Operators must pay a $10M fee to obtain a valid 10-year license.
- The tax-deductible on Gross Gaming Revenue is 15%.
The current trend in the decisions made by the lawmakers of New York gives us hope that online poker could become legal in the distant future in the state. Now, the question is, “How much time do players need to wait before operators set up these online gaming services?”
The first thing an interested company needs to do is to apply to be licensed by the NYSGC. Prospective operators must have an agreement with at least one functional land-based casino. The commission will also carry out thorough background checks and issue software audits.
For instance, in New Jersey, the duration between the passing of the bill and the launch of the first online poker site was a year. We expect a similar time frame for the first NY poker online site in NY to be launched after the bill has been approved.
Live Poker In New York
Even though the reality of enjoying real-money online poker in NY seems distant, players can still enjoy live poker games at the available card rooms in the region.
Lawmakers relaxed the harsh regulation of brick-and-mortar casinos in 2013, leading to the development of commercial casinos. Most of these tribal and commercial casinos provide live poker games. Some of the most popular card rooms in the state are:
- Turning Stone Casino: 32 tables, offers single-table tournaments, cash games, bad beat jackpot.
- Resort World Catskills: offers bad beat jackpots, tournaments, cash games, seven-card stud, Omaha, and Texas hold ’em.
- Del Lago Resort and Casino: 14 tables, offers tournaments, seven-card stud, cash games, Omaha, and Texas hold ’em.
- Seneca Niagara Casino: 23 tables, offers bad beat jackpots, tournaments, cash games, seven-card stud, Omaha, and Texas hold ’em.
- Rivers Schenectady: 16 tables, offers cash games and tournaments.
Is it possible to play from New Jersey Casinos?
Presently, it is impossible to play at a New Jersey online poker room within the borders of New York. New York residents must travel to NJ if they want to play for money.
Online poker became legal in New Jersey in 2013. The law permitted players within the Garden State to log into online poker sites in the area and play for real money. Within the state, players can also enjoy games at mobile poker sites.
One requirement you must meet to play at New Jersey online poker rooms is that you must be physically within the state lines. The poker rooms in NJ use sophisticated geolocation technology to ensure that players enjoy poker legally – without crossing borders.
However, there isn’t any restriction for players who wish to open an account. So, New York residents over the age of 21 can open accounts at these sites.
Offshore Poker Sites
These sites have come to the rescue of many players in US states where online poker is banned. Offshore sites operate throughout the US. The signup and deposit process at these casinos is simple, but some players encounter problems along the way. They also aren’t 100% safe compared to legal online poker rooms, and it’s possible for players’ funds and personal details to fall into wrong hands.
Some of the issues players face include:
- An inaccurate RNG: to determine what cards get dealt, licensed online poker sites use an RNG (random number generator). These RNGs ensure the deck is properly shuffled and is audited by valid testing laboratories. There is no guarantee that reliable RNGs are used on offshore poker sites.
- Insufficient protection against cheats and bots: Decisions made by some poker sites are made by bots using pre-programmed software. At many regulated online casino sites, these bots are illegal. The use of these bots is questionable.
- Inadequate security of personal data: Legal online poker sites utilize the best quality SSL (Secure Socket Layer) technology to ensure your data is safe. However, offshore poker sites often don’t use such strong security measures. This could be dangerous as personal information like card details, address, and name may not be secure.
- Delayed payouts: Fast withdrawals gladden the heart as much as winning at online casinos does. This is where most offshore casinos fail to meet players’ expectations as they withhold or deny payouts due to outrageous reasons such as an abuse of bonuses.
- Disregard for bBonuses: Many offshore sites give players attractive bonus offers and loyalty schemes. The dark side is that they can use flimsy excuses to ignore your bonus winnings, even if you are in the right.
- Lack of fund segregation: One of the most notable features of an excellent poker room is segregated funds. This means that earnings with regulated sites are kept separate from their operating costs. So, if the poker site eventually becomes bankrupt, your bankroll will be secure. Sadly, many offshore sites don’t have such integrity, and there is no guaranteed way to ascertain if you will be able to claim your cash if something happens. Players won’t have to face this ordeal if online poker in NY is legalized.
- Poor or absent customer support: Players must be assured that they can count on the technical team should anything go wrong with their online poker site. This feature isn’t available at offshore casino sites because they do not provide live chat and phone support, so the issue may remain unresolved for many weeks without feedback from the support team.
Legal Forms of Gambling In New York
Many of the laws against gambling have started to be relaxed over the past few years. Today, there are more than thirty brick-and-mortar casinos in the Empire State. The state has also legalized retail sportsbooks.
New York made mobile and online sports betting legal in 2021. The gaming commission in the state oversees the licensing process.
Currently, online poker and online casinos remain prohibited. This may change soon as the volume of players leaving New York to play online poker in New Jersey is increasing by the day.
The Future of Gambling in The Empire State
The future seems bright for online poker in NY following the relaxing of restrictions against sports betting. But presently, there aren’t any facilities where you can play real-money online poker in New York. It might take a while before poker and casino games are legally available online in NY.
So, players in New York need to choose from two options. First, they could go to Pennsylvania or New Jersey to play online poker there. It is safe to play online poker in these two states so long as you do it within their borders. Start by registering your account in New York, and then drive down to the state with your laptop or smartphone to log in.
You may also choose to play at online sweepstake casinos which operate in more than 40 states in the US. These sites use sweepoins for cash games and tournaments. Here, you can win these virtual coins and cash them to claim real prizes.
FAQs About Online Poker in New York
Is Global Poker legal in New York?
The business model on which Global Poker operates keeps it from breaking state or federal laws. This is a claim that is yet to be proven by experts. However, you are safer playing at Global Poker than at offshore online casino sites.
Do I need to pay taxes on my winnings?
Yes. The New York Department of Taxation and the IRS needs to have a cut from your poker earnings. This will vary based on your income level, the amount you’ve won, and how you choose to keep a record of your tax paperwork. The best thing you can do is contact a tax advisor or CPA for professional advice.
Is it advisable to partake in underground New York Poker?
Many establishments in the Empire State organize live poker games out of the view of government regulations. You should stay away from such events. Underground clubs like these were common at the end of the 20th century as the law enforcement actions were beefed up by the authorities. Another issue is the outrageous rake of ten percent. It is better to stay online where you may have lower rakes of 5% up to $3 and will be safe.
Can I play online poker in New York on my phone or tablet?
Yes. Good online poker firms have made mobile compatibility a priority, so they’ve made the apps compatible with iOS and Android platforms. Some of the online card rooms that allow players from New York to sign up and play include blockchain.poker, SwC, Nitrogen, BetOnline, and SB Poker. As long as you have a mobile device, you can enjoy their wide variety of virtual games. Other sites like True Poker, Black Chip Poker, and Americas Cardroom have mobile software allowing customers to play some games from their tablets and phones.
Is it possible to begin my online gambling firm in New York?
No. Starting on this idea is pretty much a lost cause. The heat of restrictions and the law affects operators more than players. Most operators move from lawsuit to lawsuit, especially those who run offshore casinos in the state. Also, committing gambling crimes in the state can attract penalties at the federal level.
What methods can I use to withdraw and deposit funds for online poker in New York?
The best thing is to use cryptocurrencies for financial transactions at these sites due to their safety. Bitcoin remains the most popular and reliable. Using this cryptocurrency guarantees fast payouts, low fees, and anonymity of transactions.
However, if you desire to employ traditional methods of transacting cash, then credit cards are your best bet. You could also use other standard monetary facilities, checks, and money transfer services.