Gambling Laws In New York

There are few issues in the United States as legally ambiguous to the general public of the state of New York as gambling. While Federal Law, through the passing of major acts like the Federal Wire Act in 1961 and the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 1992 effectively outlaws the facilitation of not only sports betting but general gambling on games of chance and poker, there was a lot of room left over for individual states to govern policies within their own boundaries. Policy in the state of New York falls right in line with Federal law for the most part, but it never hurts to have the most possible information on New York gambling laws.

The purpose of is to ensure that New York residents can enter in to a new hobby that is both fun and potentially profitable with as much legal information as possible so that they may enjoy themselves in a safe manner free from any worry of legal prosecution, below you will find a detailed analysis of New York’s gambling laws as well as advice on how residents may enjoy the hobby legally.

Legality of Gambling in New York

New York residents are in a bit of a peculiar bind when it comes to gambling in their home state. While the state laws do indeed choose to take legislation and regulations of the activity further than is established by the federal laws through defining “gambling” in chapter 5-401 of state legislation as and types of wagers “made to depend upon any race, or upon any gaming by lot or chance, or upon any lot, chance, casualty, or unknown or contingent,” and state that it is unlawful to do so, the law sets up no precedent for prosecuting this act.

This means that while gambling in New York is “unlawful” in the terms that it is not permitted by the law, it is not actually “criminalized,” meaning that even though the state technically does not permit these acts, they do not prosecute based upon them, either.

So, what does this jargon mean for the average resident of New York? It means that although the act of placing any sorts of bets on sporting contests or games of skill or chance are technically unlawful, there are no penalties associated with carrying out these acts.

While this means that mere participants in gambling can continue to do so with no fear of legal repercussion, it does not mean that New York City can be the next Las Vegas. If a New York resident is found guilty of “advancing/profiting from gambling,” this is a very serious crime in the state of New York that will result in a felony charge.

Difference Between Gambling & Profiting from Gambling

If one lives in New York and has even the most passing interest in gambling, it’s critical to know the difference between participating in gambling and what the state of New York would define as either promoting or profiting from it.

Essentially, while the state of New York will not take criminal action against anyone who merely participates in gambling, they will prosecute those who make gambling available for other citizens to the fullest extent of the law. This means that if a prospective bettor wished to make a bet on a sporting event through an underground sportsbook run out of a pool hall and the police busted in at that very moment, while the bettor would not face any charged for the incident, the person taking the bet would have a crucial court date awaiting them.

What is important to gather from these New York gambling laws is that while the ACT of betting or gambling is not criminalized in the state of New York, the act of FACILITATING such actions is.

It is also important to pint out here that when the state of New York in legislative section 225 subsection (1) says that “profiting” off of gambling is a felony, they do not mean profiting as one would from a winning bet or winning turn at a casino game. Profiting from gambling is defined as one who stands to make money from a gambling event without actually wagering themselves.

For example, in an illicit poker game, the host of the game may choose to charge admission for the privilege to play. If they do not collect a fee at the door, they may instead opt to collect “rake” (a small percentage of each pot during the game that goes to the house as profit) which would in turn mean that they are profiting from gambling.

While it’s possible to gamble in New York with no legal interference, it is crucial to avoid these two actions.

State Betting Laws In New York

New York Sports Betting Laws

If one wishes to bet on sports events in New York, they are held to the same standard as all prospective gamblers who are residents of the state. While the act of placing a bet or wager is technically unlawful, it is not criminalized, meaning that the bettor will not be prosecuted.

When it comes to the matter of bookmaking in the interest of sports betting, it’s a different story all together. Section 225 subsection (9) of New York legislation strictly defines bookmaking as anyone who would take bets from the general public that are dependent upon any sort of outcome. This rules out the organization of sports betting, pari-mutuel betting, even wagers on the outcomes of political elections or entertainment awards, which means finding anyone based in the state of New York to take a bet could be difficult, even if the act of betting itself carries no legal risk.

NY Sports Gambling Laws
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New York Sportsbooks
New York Casino Gaming Laws

Casino games and other games of chance to be played for money are unable to receive licenses from the state of New York to operate legally. With the exception of a couple casinos established and managed by Native American tribes who are federally exempt from state laws, there are no legally functioning casinos in New York.

Despite this, there is actually no legal penalty for being caught playing casino games, so while players can gamble as much as they like on Roulette, Blackjack, or slot machines, they may have trouble finding any brick and mortar buildings within the state territory to aid them in doing so.

NY Casino Gambling Laws
Are Casino Games Legal?
New York Casinos
New York Poker Laws

Due to the wild popularity of the game of poker that wildly eclipses all other poker games, some states make exceptions in order to license and establish poker rooms even if other forms of gambling are illegal. Unfortunately, New York is not one such state, ensuring that when they define “contests of chance” in section 225 subsection (1) of legislation that even games requiring an element of skill are included, effectively killing any chance of state licensed poker rooms in New York.

That being said, playing poker is still not criminalized. If New York residents were to set up a private game amongst friends, just so long as they took care that no one was “profiting” from the game that would not be a criminalized act. However, those looking to play poker in a casino like environment have a long drive to Atlantic City ahead of them.

NY Poker Laws
Is It Legal To Play Poker?
New York Poker Rooms

Legal Gambling Age In New York

With any issue it’s best to avoid as many legal complications as possible, and with a situation like gambling where the water is already murky enough as it is, there is certainly no reason to go about making the situation more complicated needlessly. That is why it cannot be stressed enough: do not gamble underage. New York gambling laws state the legal gambling age in New York is 18, so it is strongly advisable that all New York residents wait at least that long before attempting to gamble.

BY gambling underage, New York residents can turn a simple situation into a complex one and introduce fines, juvenile jail time and other needless legal stresses to an activity that is otherwise not criminalized. Furthermore, if any legal establishments catch someone gambling underage, they will be forced to forfeit any funds, including winnings they have earned in association with gambling.

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Where to Gamble in New York

On-Land: New York City has one of the most active underground gambling cultures in the world and there is no use denying it. Despite the fact that those running the operations run huge risks legally, there is still no legal penalty associated with being caught being a mere player in one of these outfits. However, no one in good conscience should advise anyone to seek these out. By merely finding an illicit gambling operation, a New York resident could put themselves in great personal danger, not to mention their hard earned money. Surely, there are better investments to be made than in career criminals.

The other option available to New York residents is to seek out one of the Native American run casinos. The Seneca casino near Niagara is legendary and hosts not only a full casino, shopping, and several restaurants, but several A-list entertainers make it out regularly. Still, this is more of an event and not a convenient means to maintain a regular betting or gaming hobby. Moreover, is doubtful these casinos are located in a convenient spot for most New York residents.

Online/Web-Based: We have spent this entire page so far telling New York residents that while they cannot be punished for gambling, it’s practically impossible to find anywhere to gamble. This is a great paradox for those who live in New York, and one that can stump most. Until of course, they remember the internet.

There are many legal gambling networks that are not only open to US citizens, but have been catering to New York residents for over a decade. Since these websites are based overseas, well outside the jurisdiction of New York State or even Federal law, they are able to function legally as legitimate businesses with no fear of legal prosecution, while still being held to the high standard of both their native country’s laws and the parameters of the various gaming commissions that certify them.

The idea of gambling with a foreign business may make some New York residents nervous, but there is no need to worry. All the sites listed on these pages come heavily endorsed not only by pages and pages of customer testimonial, but by major media networks who are active in the US market like ESPN and FOX. A membership with one of these websites is one of the surest bets a New York citizen could make, with a long history of offering a superb product and paying their customers out in a timely fashion, long road trips into New Jersey are a thing of the past. Have great sportsbooks, casino games or even poker delivered right into your home or even onto your mobile device for excitement and winnings you can take anywhere.

Safe & Trusted Gambling Sites For NY Players

Recommended For Casino, Sports Betting & Online Poker

When looking for a great gambling network to join, it’s easy to get caught looking for the flashiest website without checking for substance. In the case of BetOnline, that would be an incredibly happy accident. Not only is this legal gambling site for New York residents one of the sharpest to look at and easiest to navigate sites on the web, it happens to offer a phenomenal product. Their sportsbook is one of the most complete in the world, offering betting lines on games from every league and dozens or propositions on each and the “live dealer” feature available for all of their casino and poker games helps bring the real-world casino experience right to your computer.

Perhaps the best feature of BetOnline is its portability. With one of the best mobile sites in the business, time stuck on the subway could be time winning money in poker, or reviewing the latest set of college football odds. Chances are, you carry your most powerful computer around in your front pocket, why not take full advantage of it by gambling with it as well? With BetOnline, you’ll have a blast and rack in some winnings while you’re doing it.

Other Recommended New York Betting Sites

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We here at are not lawyers or certified professionals in any way. We are merely citizens who are passionate about the subject of gambling, want to help spread accurate information as far and wide as possible. While we are confident in our research and stand by the information on this page as accurate, it cannot be considered a legal consult and should not be treated as such.​ If you'd like to get more help with New York gambling laws, we highly recommend that readers view the 6308637397 with their own eyes by proceeding to the state's legislature website which can be found by following the preceding link.