New York Online Poker Laws

Online gambling remains a sore spot in New York. There have been numerous attempts to legalize and regulate online gambling and online poker in the state, but none of those attempts have been successful.

Most types of live gambling is legal in the New York, but the state’s history with online gambling, notably “Black Friday” and the initial passing of the Wire Act, is a sore spot for online poker players.

Is Online Poker Legal in New York?

Playing online poker in New Yok is legal, but it is not regulated by the state. Laws in New York regarding online poker focus of operators not players. It is not legal to operate an online poker site in New York, but there are no laws that make it illegal to play.

Some form of legislation to legalize and regulate online gambling and online poker has been introduced in New York every year since 2014. However, now of these bills have progressed far enough to make it to the governors desk and bring legal online poker to the Empire State.

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Is Any Gambling Legal in New York?

Yes. Most forms of live gambling are legal in the state. After tribal casinos became legal in the late 1980s the first tribal casinos began opening a few years later. This led to several tribal casinos being constructed throughout the state, offering table games, such as Blackjack and roulette, slots and poker.

Commercial casinos were made legal in 2014 and expanded legal gambling options in upstate New York. So far four of the seven casinos allowed under legislation have been constructed and are in operation.

New York also allows betting on horse racing, sports betting, lotteries, bingo and charitable and social gambling. Daily fantasy sports currently remains illegal in the state.

Social gaming enjoys an exemption under New York gambling laws which allows regular New Yorkers to host poker games in their basements. Under section 255.00 (3) it states,

“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.”

New York Laws Pertinent to Online Poker

New York may not regulate poker at the state level, but there are no laws on the books that make it illegal for a person to play poker online. The have been repeated attempts to file bills to legalize online poker in the state, but none have passed so far.

A bill to legalize poker remains on the books in New York right now Even though it’s almost exactly the same bill that went nowhere in 2019 the explosion in popularity in online poker during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the increased tax revenues as a result may finally lead to legislation passing.

All laws that pertain to real money gambling in New York are listed in Section 225 of New York statutes. None of these regulations apply specifically to online gambling and there are no laws on the books in New York that make it illegal to play poker online.

In New York the state goes after illegal gambling operators, not players. The most relevant example of this is the Black Friday crackdowns where dozens of operators from offshore poker rooms that allowed New York residents to make deposits and play poker were indicted.

The legal trouble and lawsuits of the past haven’t scared off all offshore poker operators, as some (BetOnline Poker for example) continue to allow players from New York to play on their site.