New York State Poker & Online Gambling Legislation Status
Poker is a game that has been very popular throughout the history of New York. Up until the 1990s poker players in New York did not have any legal ways to play so underground poker rooms were common. In the 1990s the state developed compacts with Indian Tribes to allow tribal casinos. These casinos offer poker games so that the residents of New York have a legal way to play poker.
Can Players From New York Play Poker Online?
Yes! Poker players from New York should have no problems finding an online site to play at. The federal government has made it harder for online poker sites to offer games to residents of the United States, but they have not made it impossible. We saw some of the most notable online poker sites pull out of the US market in 2011 when the federal government indicted the owners of some of the largest poker sites.
Smaller online poker sites were not targeted during this time. These sites continue to offer online poker games to poker players in New York. These sites are smaller than the major poker sites, but they still have very large multi table tournaments and satellite tournaments to major events like the WSOP. There is a lot of money to be won at these sites. You can pick any of the following poker sites that accept players from New York:
Is it Legal to Play Online Poker in New York?
New York has a long list of laws pertaining to gambling. From the research that we have completed it appears that most of the gambling laws in New York are targeted to the operators of illegal gambling institutions. Online poker is a grey area in New York. We have found no laws that specifically mention online poker, but some of the other laws that New York has may make playing poker online illegal. We have a review of some of the laws that may pertain to online poker in New York below:
- New York defines a Contest of Chance as
Contest of chance means any contest, game, gaming scheme or gaming device in which the outcome depends in a material degree upon an element of chance, notwithstanding that skill of the contestants may also be a factor therein.(Section 225.00-1)
- Gambling is defined as
A person engages in gambling when he stakes or risks something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under his control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that he will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.(Section 225.00-2)
- Use of
unlawful wagering instrumentsis a class a misdemeanor. It is unclear whether gambling online or on a mobile device can be considered use of an unlawful wagering instrument. (Section 225.65)
- Most penalties are targeted at operators of illegal gambling organizations. 
- Home poker games seem to be legal in New York as long as no one is taking a rake from the game.
- Charity casino nights seem to be legal in New York with proper licensing.
We are not lawyers. We have just provided an overview of the laws that we find interesting in New York pertaining to gambling. We can’t tell you whether or not it is legal to play poker online in New York. We advise you to consult a lawyer if you are concerned with the legality of playing poker online in New York.
New York Gambling History
New York has played a big role in the history of gambling in the United States. A lot of the gambling throughout the United States originated in New York. Many immigrants first arrived in New York. New York was big in the gambling industry in these days. They promoted gambling equipment to the new immigrants. The immigrants moved on to other areas of the United States and set up gambling organizations. The Las Vegas Strip even originated from the gambling equipment that came out of New York.
Gambling in the early years of New York wasn’t legal, but law officials tended to turn a blind eye to the activity going on. It wasn’t until 1966 that New York officially had some legalized gambling in the state. The New York State Lottery launched in 1966. It was the second legalized lottery in the United States.
New York quickly moved forward with more legalized forms of gambling. It was the first state to legalize off track betting on the horse races in 1971. Shortly after that the state developed a progressive jackpot on the lottery in 1978. Lottery revenues and pari-mutuel betting revenues in New York are among the highest in the United States.
New York dabbled with the idea of launching state run casinos. They almost legalized these casinos, but reports of corruption and crimes in other state that had state casinos deterred New York from legalizing them.
Indian Tribe Casinos are available in New York. The first of these casinos opened in the 1980s. More casinos have followed. These casinos offer all of the games you would expect to find at any casino including poker games. 
Legalized Gambling Options in New York
Legalized gambling is widely available in New York. Betting on horse races, lottery, charity casino nights, Indian Tribe Casinos, charity bingo halls, and much more are available. If you are looking for a legal gambling venue in New York, you should have no problems finding them.
Will New York Legalize Online Poker in the Future?
New York has made no move at this point to legalize online poker. However, New York’s neighboring state New Jersey has legalized online poker. Many people believe that New York will follow suit with New Jersey. I think that New York will probably legalize some forms of online gambling in the near future, but I may be wrong.
It is the general consensus that the federal government in the United States will make a move to legalize online gambling in the near future. If this happens then each state will have the option to accept the mandate or opt out of it. If there is a federal mandate I think that New York will definitely go forward with online gambling. There is no indication that New York would opt out of any federal mandates.