Despite a strong land-based gaming presence, New York online gambling has yet to reach the level of its neighboring states.
New York is a global tourism hub that welcomes millions of visitors every year. Tourists to the Empire State flock to many of these retail casinos.
Notwithstanding the flourishing land-based gambling presence, New York legislators remain hesitant to legalize any form of online gaming. New York launched retail sports betting late in 2019, but mobile wagering still appears to be a long-term goal rather than an immediate possibility.
New York online gambling continues to run into significant opposition in the state. This includes a long legal battle regarding Daily Fantasy Sports.
New York’s neighbors welcomed online gambling with open arms, making the Northeast somewhat of a hub for digital gaming. Even though the landscape is barren right now, New Yorkers may start to see online options become available in the near to mid future.
Online Gambling Options In New York
|Betting Type||Legal Status In New York|
|Online casino||Currently illegal. No sign of legalization yet.|
|Online sportsbook||Retail sports betting is allowed, but mobile and online sportsbooks are prohibited by law.|
|Online horse racing||Regulated and legal in New York.|
|Online poker||New York law prohibits online poker sites from operating.|
|Daily Fantasy Sports||Daily Fantasy Sports was previously allowed in the state, but a recent ruling declared it unconstitutional. Operators are still live in the state, but the future of New York DFS is in jeopardy.|
|Sweepstakes casino||Sweepstakes-model casinos are available to New York players.|
|Sweepstakes poker||Poker sites operating on a sweepstakes model are available to New Yorkers.|
New York Sweepstakes Casinos
Sweepstakes casinos are often allowed to operate in states that prohibit online gambling because they use a sweepstakes model.
Players purchase in-game currency, or “coins” that they use to play casino games. Most sweepstakes casinos, Chumba Casino being the most popular, offer a variety of casino games. Chumba Casino offers blackjack, video poker, roulette, and a huge portfolio of slot games.
Players who purchase in-game currency at sweepstake casinos will receive a small allotment of “sweeps cash” or “sweeps coins.” These can be redeemed for cash prizes. Players can also redeem a mail-in offer to receive a small amount of sweeps coins for free. This is what allows these sites to operate even in states with strict online gaming prohibitions.
Sweepstakes casinos are a solid alternative to full-fledged online casinos. New York gaming enthusiasts can enjoy the option to play casino games especially as states put regulations in place to legalize online gaming across the board.
LuckyLand Casino and Chumba Casino are two of the biggest sweepstakes casino operators, though there are others.
See our comprehensive Guide To New York Sweepstakes Casinos.
New York Online Gambling Status
Here’s a rundown of New York online gambling options. This includes those that are still prohibited and when the state might be expected to legalize them.
Online Horse Racing
Horse race betting is one of the few online gambling options available to players in the Empire State.
New York has a number of race tracks and off-track betting facilities, but the state also allows online horse race betting via a number of reputable sites.
TVG, BetAmerica, and TwinSpires are three of the most popular sites players use to bet on horse races online or on mobile. Betting isn’t limited to in-state tracks, races, or events. If you use an online betting operator, you’ll have access to races from around the world. This gives bettors in New York a wide variety of betting options.
See our comprehensive review of Online Horse Race Betting In The US.
Daily Fantasy Sports
Daily Fantasy Sports is facing some significant challenges in New York, though operators are still live. Players can sign up and start playing with popular sites like DraftKings or FanDuel, though the future of Daily Fantasy Sports is murky in New York.
In 2016, the state ruled Daily Fantasy Sports completely legal. In early 2020, however, a state appeals court declared the law that originally authorized DFS to be unconstitutional.
Another appeal is expected, meaning that DFS remains in a legal grey-area in New York. For the time being, operators can continue to run contests in the lucrative market. This brings a clash to the state. New York historically opposed online gaming in all forms, but the US at large–especially the Northeast–has started to embrace the digital age of betting.
For now DFS continues in the state, though that could change as the courts issue new rulings based on the appeals.
See our complete guide to Daily Fantasy Sports Site in New York.
Sweepstakes Poker Sites
Sweepstakes poker operates using the same model as sweepstakes casinos. Players purchase in-game currency (of no monetary value) that they can use to play poker. Every purchase also yields a small amount of sweeps cash, which can be redeemed for real money. Players have the option to mail in a request for free sweeps cash, which allows the sites to operate as sweepstakes in states with stringent gambling laws.
Sweepstakes casino and poker sites are often run by the same companies, too. Chumba Casino owner VGW Malta Ltd. also operates Global Poker, the most popular sweepstakes poker site.
The New York Lottery offers a plethora of game types, including draw games, scratch cards, instant tickets, and many more.
Unfortunately, The Empire State does not allow online lottery sales. Players can purchase lottery subscriptions online, which allow lotto enthusiasts to enjoy lottery games on a regular basis, anywhere from two-week increments to a full year.
New York Online Sports Betting
Despite launching retail sportsbooks in 2019 and early 2020, New York still prohibits online sports betting. That prohibition looks likely to hold at least for the remainder of 2020, though one lawmaker is optimistic about 2021.
Even if New York legalized online sportsbooks in 2021, regulations must be finalized and licenses must be granted. For those reasons, 2022 is a liberal estimate for when we might see the state launch legal sports betting for the online market.
See our guide to New York Sports Betting.
Online Casinos In New York
New York lawmakers have yet to legalize online casino gaming.
The state seems to have no plans in place to allow online casinos to operate, putting it a few steps behind some of its neighboring states. New Jersey and Pennsylvania, both of which share a border with New York, are seen as online gaming pioneers. Both states adopted online gaming and sports betting early on, offering players a healthy market and plenty of gaming options.
New York remains a few years behind its brethren in the Northeast, and it is unclear if the state plans to authorize online casino gaming anytime soon.
Learn more in our comprehensive Guide To Legal Online Casinos In The US.
History Of New York Online Gambling
The Empire State historically opposed online gambling in all forms. It’s an outlook that has led to a somewhat stark outlook for New York online gambling proponents. The same can be said for online sports betting and casino operators who want to tap into New York’s nearly 20 million residents for betting revenue.
The Wire Act And Federal Online Gaming Laws
The US government barred all online gaming from a federal level for many years using the Federal Wire Act of 1961.
In 2011, however, the US Department of Justice declared that the Wire Act only applied to sports betting. Since then, changing administrations have meddled with the decision so many times it’s hard to keep track.
In 2018, the Trump Justice Department reversed the stance by retracting the 2011 opinion. This set the Wire Act back to square one, covering all forms of online gambling.
Federal Cases Muddy The Waters
Shortly thereafter, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals indicated that the Wire Act applied only to sports betting once again. The Justice Department came back into the mix, declaring its intent to appeal the Fifth Court’s decision. Suffice it to say that the federal government’s stance on online gambling is murky at best and generally confusing.
In a less confusing development, 2018 brought the Supreme Court’s historic ruling on The Professional and Amateur Sports Betting Act (known to most as PASPA). The Court declared PASPA unconstitutional. This lifted the federal ban on sports betting. This put the onus on individual states to legalize sportsbooks, and many have already launched full-fledged retail and online sportsbooks.
New York Online Gambling Progress Is Slow And Steady
Though some neighboring states opened the metaphorical floodgates to sports betting as soon as the Supreme Court repealed PASPA, New York’s progress is a slow trickle.
The state has allowed retail sportsbooks to launch in multiple land-based properties, but online sports betting in NY remains a prospect for the long-term future.
In other words, despite its status as a keystone of American culture, New York remains markedly slow to catch up to the quick expansion of online gaming. And it looks like that slow trickle will continue as legal battles continue.
New York’s online gambling history has only just begun. Though it’s behind many of its competitor states, it still stands to become a leader in the space once it catches up.
Brick-And-Mortar Gambling Thrives In New York
New York Retail Gambling At A Glance
|Does New York have land-based casinos?||Yes|
|Does New York have race tracks?||Yes|
|Are lottery games available in New York?||Yes|
|What’s New York’s minimum gambling age?||21 (18 for lottery and horse race betting)|
|Who regulates New York Gambling?||The New York State Gaming Commission|
New York’s land-based casino industry began in 1988 thanks to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which permitted tribal casinos. New York authorized non-tribal casinos in 2013, though New York City continues to prohibit land-based properties.
The Empire State allows the full gamut of land-based betting options, including fully realized slot and table gaming floors, poker rooms, horse racing tracks, and more. With more than 20 properties spread across the state, New York gamblers have no trouble finding a land-based gaming operator in the state.
Following New York’s legalization of retails sportsbooks, many of its land-based operators also launched sportsbooks, adding a new branch of brick-and-mortar gaming to the mix.
New York Casino Overview
New York has more than 20 land-based casinos that offer gaming in some form. Players across the state have access to a number of options:
|Property||Location||Type Of Casino||Retail Sportsbook|
|Akwesasne Mohawk Casino||Hogansburg||Tribal||No|
|Batavia Downs Casino||Batavia||Racino||No|
|Del Lago Resort & Casino||Tyre||Commercial||Yes|
|Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway||Yonkers||Racino||No|
|The Fairgrounds Gaming||Hamburg||Racino||No|
|Jake’s 58 Casino||Islandia||Commercial||No|
|Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack||Farmington||Racino||No|
|Lakeside Entertainment||Union Springs||Tribal||No|
|Mohawk Bingo Palace & Casino||Akwesasne||Tribal||No|
|Monticello Gaming & Raceway||Monticello||Racino||No|
|Point Place Casino||Bridgeport||Tribal||Yes|
|Resorts World Catskills||Kiamesha Lake||Commercial||Yes|
|Resorts World New York City||Ozone Park||Racino||No|
|Saratoga Casino & Raceway||Saratoga Springs||Racino||No|
|Seneca Allegany Casino||Salamanca||Tribal||No|
|Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino||Buffalo||Tribal||No|
|Seneca Gaming & Entertainment Irving||Irving||Tribal||No|
|Seneca Gaming & Entertainment Oil Spring||Cuba||Tribal||No|
|Seneca Gaming & Entertainment Salamanca||Salamanca||Tribal||No|
|Seneca Niagara Casino||Niagara Falls||Tribal||No|
|Tioga Downs & Casino||Nichols||Commercial||Yes|
|Turning Stone Resort & Casino||Verona||Tribal||Yes|
|Vernon Downs & Casino||Vernon||Racino||No|
|Yellow Brick Road Casino||Chittenango||Tribal||Yes|
New York Casino Background
Each New York Casino falls under a specific type: tribal, racino, or commercial. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988 kickstarted the industry, allowing tribal casinos to open in the state. Tribal casinos remain in the majority of New York casino operators, though a fair number of commercial casinos and racinos have opened. The New York casino scene is on a rapid growth trajectory.
In 2014 and 2015, upstate New York received a gambling-related boost when the state’s Gaming Commission granted four licenses for casino operations. The 2013 amendment that made these licenses possible allowed for seven total licenses, so there are still three yet to be granted.
The four granted licenses sparked a flurry of casino activity. Now, the areas impacted–Tyre, Seneca County, Nichols, and The Finger Lakes–have a bustling casino scene.
The Future Of New York Casinos
Despite the historic upswing of the land-based casino industry in New York, the growth has stalled for the time being. Governor Andrew Cuomo put a hold on further upstate licenses until 2023, which allows those who received licenses in 2014 and 2015 to grow their businesses unencumbered.
Cuomo has also been reticent to support casino expansion to New York City.
Who Owns New York’s Casinos?
Native American tribes own about half of New York’s casinos. The Seneca Nation of Indians, the Oneida Indian Nation, and the Saint Regis Mohawk tribe own many of the state’s properties.
Other ownership by property varies. Casinos and racinos in New York are typically run by large corporate entities.
Unique Regulations To Know
Gambling law as it relates to casino gaming is fairly straightforward in New York. The one caveat, though, is the gambling age. Anyone 18 and over can play at a casino if it doesn’t serve alcohol. If alcohol is served, the minimum age is 21. This applies to a handful of New York’s properties, which gives younger players the chance to enjoy casino games.
New York Lottery Overview
The New York Lottery has a diverse portfolio of games available to players. Some are the more familiar, giant-jackpot games many players know.
But there are a number of smaller games with a higher chance of winning. For more information on any of the games above, visit the New York Lottery website. The minimum age to play the lottery in New York is 18.
Mega Millions & Powerball
These draw games are known nationwide for offering massive jackpots. Mega Millions and Powerball draw on specific days of the week. They’re incredibly low odds games with potentially gigantic payouts.
New York Lotto
The New York Lotto drawing jackpot may not reach the astronomical heights of Mega Millions or Powerball, but the prize usually reaches a few million dollars. Draws occur on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
THis game features a daily winner, and the top prize is $1000 a day for life. The second prize is $1000 a week for life.
This is the daily game with the best odds to win in New York. The process is simple–just take 5 numbers and watch the drawing.
Numbers has players draw three–you guessed it–numbers. A winner is selected twice daily.
Win up to $5,000 on a $1 dollar purchase by picking four numbers for midday, evening, or both.
Quick Draw lives up to its name with a winner every four minutes. The lottery’s website lets you comb through previous winning numbers, too.
In this game, players pick 10 numbers and play them daily for a chance to win up to $500,000.
Scratch cards, sometimes called instant tickets, are also available to New York Lottery players. They offer a huge range of possible prizes, with some reaching $1 million or above.
Where Can I Bet On Horses In New York?
Outside of online sites like TwinSpires or TVG, New York has an active and thriving horse race betting scene. The state has plenty of race tracks, some of which also offer casino games. The minimum age for horse race betting in New York is 18.
|Aqueduct Racetrack||South Ozone Park|
|Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack||Farmington|
|Goshen Historic Track||Goshen|
|Saratoga Race Course||Saratoga Springs|
|Saratoga Raceway||Saratoga Springs|
|Vernon Downs Racetrack||Vernon|
|Tioga Downs Racetrack||Nichols|
Learn More About Gambling In New York
- Tripadvisor’s 10 best New York Casino Hotels
- New York State Gaming Commission Website
- 500Nations New York Indian Casino Overview
- New York Appeals Daily Fantasy Sports Updates
New York Online Gambling FAQ
Do I have to be a resident of New York in order to gamble at casinos there?
No. Anyone of age can play at a New York casino, so you don’t need to be a resident to play there.
The only requirement to play at a New York casino is age. Anyone 18 or older can play at a casino if there is no alcohol served. Some tribal casinos don’t serve alcohol, thus allowing anyone 18 or older to play at their properties. If a casino serves alcohol, the age minimum is 21.
Do New York’s casinos offer mobile apps?
Yes. Many of New York’s land-based gambling hubs have mobile apps for Android and iOS. These apps do not offer online gaming, however. Usually they are geared towards providing information, booking hotel rooms, and claiming special offers and other functions that help you plan your visit.
Some casino apps have play-for-fun casino games that allow players to enjoy slots and table games for in-game currency, but these games do not allow you to win real money.
Does it make sense to join a casino’s loyalty program?
Yes. Especially if you’re a frequent visitor to a particular casino. Loyalty and rewards programs help you get the most out of playing at a given casino. Oftentimes you’ll get special rewards like free slots cash, meal discounts, or even special room rates if you use rewards programs.
Is sports betting legal in New York?
Yes. New York launched its first retail sportsbooks in 2019. Right now, the state only allows in-person sports betting.
New York remains staunchly opposed to online sports betting at the moment but there is a demand for digital sportsbooks among fans and certain lawmakers. It’s possible that the state could legalize sports betting in the next year or two, bringing it into the mix alongside Pennsylvania and New Jersey, which both have strong sports betting industries.
What else can I do besides gamble at New York casinos?
The better question here might be: “What can’t you do?” New York’s casinos are full-on entertainment destinations. Options vary by property, but you’ll find no shortage of activities at New York’s casinos, including golf courses, pools, concert venues, racetracks, dining, and much more.
Is it safe to gamble online in New York?
Generally, no. The only online gaming that New York allows is horse race betting, which you can do safely in the state through providers like TVG or TwinSpires.
The Empire State bans all other forms of online gambling. If you find an online gaming or betting site you can access from New York, it’s likely an offshore or grey market solution that will not protect your information or your money, so you should avoid it.
Can I play Daily Fantasy Sports in New York?
For now, yes. However, New York is in the middle of a years-long legal back-and-forth regarding Daily Fantasy Sports and providers like FanDuel and DraftKings. The state once ruled that the sites were allowed to operate in 2016, but recent court cases resurfaced the issue. The latest declaration indicates that Daily Fantasy Sports is illegal in New York, but the legal battle continues to be appealed, allowing operators to offer DFS in the state for now.
Are online casinos legal in New York?
No. New York prohibits online casino gaming.
Sweepstakes casino sites like Chumba or Luckyland are allowed to operate because they use a sweepstakes model. While these are available in New York, use them with caution because the operators use legal loopholes to offer their games in states with strict gaming laws.
Can I bet on sports online in a neighboring state?
Yes. New Jersey and Pennsylvania are your best options if you wish to travel from New York to a state with legal online sports betting.
New Jersey and Pennsylvania have launched full-fledged online betting. To participate, you just have to register and confirm your identity online (usually with a social security number) and be within state lines, which is tracked by geolocation technology. IF you’re 21 or older and within the borders of your chosen state, you’re all set to place bets!
Once you leave the legal state, you won’t be able to place more bets, but any you did place while in the state will still be honored.
Will New York authorize online betting this year?
Unlikely. New York’s stance on digital casinos and sportsbooks may change in the future, even as soon as 2021, but the state right now seems focused on offering retail sportsbooks and casinos to its players.
However, with the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, online betting has grown more popular. It’s possible New York could soon follow in the footsteps of its progressive neighbors and kickstart the online legalization process.