Is Online Poker Legal In New York – New York Gambling Law
New York is home to many things, but, unfortunately, online gambling is not one of them, yet. This state has been trying to sort the legality of online poker and other iGaming services for a long time now.
In fact, the entire US has been in a sort of limbo when it comes to legalising and regulating online poker and other gambling activities. It seems that lawmakers don’t have the time to deal with these things since not a single person has been prosecuted for conducting any kind of gambling activity, regardless of the state they live in.
Online gambling is becoming increasingly popular among NY residents despite the confusing landscape surrounding online gambling activity. The state of New York has started embracing the gambling industry, as is demonstrated by their tolerance toward land-based gambling in the state. There are several land-based casinos available for the residents of New York, most of which belong to the Indian Tribes in the country.
So far, poker has the biggest potential of reaching legal status in the state of New York. In this page, we will discuss the legality of this venue, as well as how to locate legitimate, safe, and reliable poker destinations that welcome New York players. Hopefully, we’ll manage to answer some of your questions regarding the legality of online poker in NY like:
- What’s the current state of affairs in the US?
- Which states prohibit online poker?
- Which states allow online poker?
- Where does New York stand?
- Is online poker illegal in NY?
- Will you break the law by playing poker in NY?
- Expectations for next year.
But, before we proceed to talk about New York in particular, let’s take a look at the state of affairs in the entire country regarding this issue.
Online Gambling in the US
Since poker originated in the US, many people assume that the game is legal in all states. However, the country has always had quite a complicated relationship with online gambling throughout its history. While some states disapprove of all types of games of chance, others are quite open to them and are welcoming any opportunity that would bring them additional profit. One such state is Nevada.
If we were to categorise all US countries by their tolerance toward online poker, they would be divided into three categories: open, strict, and indifferent.
Prohibited Online Poker
Some states in the US are not warm toward online poker and deem it illegal. In fact, not only did they forbid interstate platforms, but players are also not allowed to play online poker — and that includes poker sites that are licensed, regulated, and located overseas. If the authorities were to find online poker software on your computer or mobile device, you would be prosecuted for that in Utah, Washington and Florida.
Nevertheless, nobody has been arrested or even being prosecuted for playing online poker, despite it being illegal. So, even if you play online poker in these three states, chances are you wouldn’t suffer any legal consequences for it.
Legalized Online Poker
Besides Nevada, other states where online poker is allowed are Delaware, New Jersey, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Nevada and Delaware even signed an online poker partnership, creating a legal framework for the first authorised interstate iGaming.
Several other countries across the state are also working on regulating online poker within their borders. And so, we can expect to see many others join the club, and welcome poker games on the web.
Where Does New York Stand?
Now that we’ve mentioned states that forbid and allow online poker, we are left with the third group of states, and this is where New York belongs. The Big Apple has, however, made significant strides towards legalising and regulating online poker.
But before we proceed to discuss whether or not online poker is available for NY residents, we need to address a couple of legal acts that forbid it in the first place.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 was signed into law with the purpose of regulating all types of online gambling except for fantasy sports. The act attracted massive criticism across the country as it failed to prevent the dangers that come from online gambling. Nevertheless, it was enough to add to the confusion among lawmakers. Eventually, it came down to allowing individual states to decide on their approach towards this issue.
If you want to learn how UIGEA came to be, take a look at the video below:
The Wire Act
The Justice Department initially prohibited online gambling with the Federal Wire Act from 1961. While the Wire Act clearly states that telephonic wagering is considered illegal, application to iGaming is vague in the act’s current form. The bill was recently interpreted so it would allow states to decide on the legality of sports betting as well.
The following video talks about the senselessness of the Wire Act:
This Week in Gambling
These two acts have created absolute legislative chaos, so the majority of states decided to leave things to chance. However, many lawmakers realise that this kind of approach is not a solution to the problem and that they should deal with this kind of matter on the state level.
Nevada and New Jersey solved this issue a long time ago. West Virginia and Delaware have also done a fantastic job, and Pennsylvania is the new kid on the block of the states where online poker is regulated.
That leaves about 50 other states, including New York. However, it would appear that NY has made excellent progress in that aspect and that it will join the family very soon.
Is Online Poker Illegal in New York?
At the time of writing this article, it is illegal to operate any type of online gambling site within the state of New York, and that includes online poker as well. The good news for NY players is that several internet poker sites available for them are licensed and regulated overseas. Some of the offshore poker sites accept US players, including those residing in New York.
There are no USA federal gambling laws that forbid players from playing on these sites. That said, you are free to play online poker in NY as long as you play on a legitimate offshore gambling site.
Will NY Players Break the Law by Engaging in Online Gambling?
Under New York state law, persons who take part in a gambling activity as a player at legally licensed sites such as NY poker rooms or New York sports betting sites will not suffer any legal consequences, as long as those sites are not based within the US. However, the state punishes bookmakers.
Bookmaking is defined as “the acceptance of bets from others as a business”. In other words, you are allowed to take part in online gambling only as a player, which basically means that you, as a NY resident, cannot own or operate any online gambling establishment.
Any person who has any kind of authoritative control over a property being used for gambling activities will be prosecuted. Bookmaking is considered an advancing gambling activity, and the offense for such activity is a misdemeanor offense. If the gambling activity receives five bets per day, totaling $5,000, it will be considered a felony offense.
Legal New York Online Gambling Sites
Below, we’ve listed the best New York online gambling sites, all of which have been verified to provide players with safe and legitimate poker opportunities. Each of these brands is considered to be a trusted brand within the industry, and you can rest assured that their level of security ensures the protection of your sensitive financial data at all times.
Most of these operators offer a free play option, allowing you to try out the gaming performance and user interface before making any real money wagers. This is a great way to check out whether a particular poker site appeals to your taste before investing. It also presents an excellent opportunity to learn new games or hone your skills at the games you’ve played before.
Can I Play Online Poker from My Mobile Phone in New York?
Despite being in a limbo when it comes to regulating online gambling, NY hasn’t made any moves to forbid its residents from playing online poker via their tablets and smartphones.
All poker sites listed above have well-designed mobile-optimized platforms that don’t require any download whatsoever. On the other hand, some of these sites have a dedicated poker app explicitly designed for a particular operating system. The desktop-based poker sites can be accessed via Android, Windows, iOS, and Blackberry devices.
When Will New York Finally Regulate Online Poker?
The idea of poker being regulated in New York is not something new. It just seems that the authorities have more important things to do at the moment that dealing with this matter. The talks about the regulations have started back in 2014 but came to fruition after the NY Senate passed the bill in 2016. That was the first time in history that poker had a realistic chance of becoming legal. In fact, the Senate voted 53–3 in favour of legalisation.
However, the State Assembly never dealt with the bill, and it merely passed it over to the Senate Racing and Gaming and Wagering Committee.
New York legislation’s couldn’t make things happen in 2019, but everyone has high hopes that 2020 will be the year when New York will finally join the group of states with regulated online poker. Until then, poker aficionados from NY will have to find other alternatives.
We are aware of how confusing the gambling laws in NY and the US are. That said, if you have any informational dilemmas, feel free to let us know in the comment section below.