Legal Online Poker in New York

In this guide find out the Legality of Online Poker in New York

Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Avatar Author Adrian Sterne
Fact checked by Dusan Jovanovic

Poker has been part of the New York gambling scene since the 19th century when the first poker clubs started operating. In fact, some of the world’s best masters of the game learned their trade in underground card rooms in the Empire State.

Today, NY has over two dozen commercial and tribal casinos with their own poker rooms. Players can also enjoy the game at racinos, but only in the form of electronic tables. Even home poker is allowed, provided you abide by specific stipulations.

As evident, the Empire State has had quite a liberal attitude toward playing poker in a live setting, but can the same be said for online poker? Can New Yorkers play the popular card game on the internet without getting into trouble? In this article, we will walk you through the legality of online and land-based poker in NY and the state’s current stance on gambling in general.

Gambling in the Empire State was first recorded in the 1600s when the first horse track opened. Although unregulated, most gambling forms began flourishing over the next few centuries. Underground gambling houses became popular in the second part of the 1800s, and people loved playing roulette, baccarat, faro, and, of course, poker.

The illegal gambling scene continued booming during the Prohibition era until the state decided to regulate pari-mutuel betting in 1939. Later, charitable bingo was allowed in 1957, while educational lotteries were permitted in 1966.

Poker wasn’t legal at that time, so people mostly played it in unlicensed clubs and dwellings. It was an open secret that these clubs existed, and the authorities didn’t bother shutting them down. With the passing of IGRA, Native American tribes were granted rights to open land-based casinos on tribal land, and poker became part of the legal landscape. In 2013, the state authorized commercial gambling establishments, so players got more opportunities to pursue their favorite pastime.

Even though sports betting was also legalized in 2013, lawmakers haven’t succeeded in regulating online gambling and poker rooms despite numerous attempts over the last decade. Since the web-based version of the popular card game in NY is not explicitly regulated, it remains a gray area. As a result, enthusiasts often resort to offshore casinos.

Poker Laws

LawBefore you start playing real money poker in New York, read the following laws to better understand its legal framework.

Best Legal Poker Rooms in New York

The following sections will discuss where you can play online and land-based poker in New York.

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Land-Based Poker in New York

Poker in New York has a long and rich history, and it had been popular long before it became legal in land-based gambling establishments. Books such as Queer Luck and the Thompson Street Poker Club speak in detail about NY poker clubs during the 1880s and 1890s.

Another famous establishment was the Algonquin Hotel, which operated from 1919 until the 1930s. Poker was still illegal then, but underground clubs promoting this game thrived all over the city. The Mayfair Club, which served as an inspiration for the 1998 movie “Rounders”, was the place where famous players like Eric Seidel and Stu Ungar honed their skills.

Unfortunately, the Mayfair Club was closed in 2000, as well as many other establishments, especially during the tenure of New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

Thanks to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, the first tribal casino, Turning Stone, opened in Verona in 1993, and it currently has one of the biggest poker rooms in the Empire State. Additionally, the law on brick-and-mortar casinos was amended in 2013, which granted state licenses to additional seven Vegas-style gambling venues. The state made this decision to stimulate the economy, which had been experiencing sluggish growth in the previous years.

Currently, the Empire State is home to sixteen tribal casinos, eight racinos, and five commercial gambling halls. Native American casinos are operated by four state-recognized tribes, but only eight can offer Class III games.

Aside from poker, brick-and-mortar casinos offer slots, bingo, video poker, sportsbooks, and electronic table games, such as baccarat, roulette, and blackjack. However, only five have dedicated poker rooms; those that don’t, such as Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino, Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort, Lakeside Entertainment, and Point Place Casino, offer plenty of poker titles. You can also find the popular game in the state’s racinos, but only in the form of electronic tables since they are not permitted to host live table games.

It is estimated that commercial casinos generate more revenue than the Native American ones, and the average New Yorker spends approximately $130 per year at these establishments.

How to Register at a Legal Online Poker Site in New York

Poker players from the Empire State who want to explore offshore casinos’ offers can set up an account with some of the operators we have recommended on this page. This is what to do:

Choose A Poker Room

Choose a poker room that appeals to you most by scrolling up to the top of this page.

Click the provided link, which will take you directly to the provider’s platform.


Create an account by pressing the Join/Sign Up/Register button.

Enter your username, address, and email and create a password. If necessary, verify your account by clicking the link in your email.

Deposit & Play

Once logged in, head to the Banking/Deposit section and choose your preferred payment option.

Claim a bonus (optional), make a deposit, and confirm the transaction.

When the funds become visible in your player account, you are ready to explore available cash games and tournaments. Have fun!

Land-Based Casinos With Live Poker

Brick-and-mortar casinos where you can find plenty of live poker action are Del Lago Casino (Seneca County), Turning Stone Resort (Oneida County), Resorts World Catskills (Sullivan County), Rivers Casino & Resort (Schenectady County), and Seneca Niagara Casino (Niagara County). All of them are commercial, except Seneca Niagara, which is tribal.

Turning Stone Resort has the largest poker room with 32 tables. Rivers World is right behind with 19, Seneca Niagara and Rivers Casino & Resort have 16 each, while Del Lago Resort features 14 poker tables.

Some of them have ongoing tournaments you can join throughout the year, but all offer cash games. Turning Point Casino also hosts WSOP events, The Empire State Hold’em Championships, and provides two types of daily tournaments.

Typical games players can enjoy in any of these five poker rooms include Pot Limit Omaha, Texas Hold’em 7-Card Stud, Three-Card Poker, Mississippi Stud, and several other titles.

If you are into live poker, this is where you can find land-based casinos with poker rooms:

Aside from the gaming floor and poker tables, these casinos are huge resorts offering accommodation, various dining options, entertainment, and many other amenities.

Other Resources

Final Thoughts

As evident, the Empire State doesn’t have the most restrictive laws, but it is far from being a gambling paradise. Players have a few legal gambling options at their disposal, including the State Lottery, on-site sports betting, off-track horse betting, racinos, and tribal and commercial casinos.

On the other hand, the legalization of online gambling and poker rooms may not be in the cards for New York for the time being. Still, regulating sports betting gives hope that the state is open to adding new gambling forms to its legislative framework. Until that happens, players can enjoy web-based poker at offshore sites without worrying about legal repercussions.


Is online poker legal in New York?

Unfortunately, it isn’t. The only legal online forms of gambling are off-track horse betting and sports betting.

Which offshore gambling platforms accept NY players?

Any US-friendly international gambling site should allow New York residents to register and play poker.

What is the legal gambling age in NY?

The minimum gambling age in NY casinos is 18. However, if a facility serves alcohol, it goes up to 21.

Can a New York resident play real money poker at offshore casinos?

Definitely. Since the state doesn’t forbid or allow playing poker on international gambling platforms, NY residents are welcome to join real money games on any site that caters to the US audience.

Are poker winnings taxable in New York?

Yes, they are. According to the IRS, all poker winnings made online and offline are perceived as taxable income. We recommend consulting a NY-certified tax consultant if you’re unsure how much you may have to pay.

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