Global Poker allows New York players to play 100% legal online poker via its sweepstakes license. Players from all US states can play on Global Poker, thanks to its unique online poker model.
New York Online Poker
New York has a thriving casino industry, legal sports betting in upstate casinos, and two neighboring states that offer legal online poker. But New York itself has yet to legalize traditional real money online poker.
No doubt that has been a disappointment for poker players from Albany to Buffalo to New York City. Poker is immensely popular in New York and players flock to the state’s live tables.
Many also head across the border for major events like the World Series of Poker Circuit and World Poker Tour events in the region at properties including Borgata and Harrah’s in Atlantic City and Parx in Pennsylvania.
Some New Yorkers may even pop across the border to play poker online in New Jersey or Pennsylvania. While plans for online poker in New York probably aren’t the cards for 2020, many hope that changes for 2021.
Is it Legal to Play Online Poker In New York?
The technical answer to that is “no,” at least from a legislative point of view, but that doesn’t mean New Yorkers are entirely out of options. There are currently two options for New Yorkers to find real money online poker right now:
- Sweepstakes poker at Global Poker
- Legal online poker in New Jersey or Pennsylvania
A trip to New Jersey offers players a few nice options, and getting online and playing is a simple process. Creating a new account and getting cash into it to play is also easy to do right from your home in New York.
In Pennsylvania, PokerStars PA launched in November 2019 and is the only legal online poker option in the state as of April 2020.
Play at Global Poker with $20 Welcome Package
One option for players in New York is sweepstakes or social gaming poker. There are numerous free-to-play social poker apps, but sweepstakes poker offers a bit of a different opportunity.
Global Poker is the biggest and best known of these and offers a nice gaming experience for players in the US and Canada (excluding Quebec). Global offers two options for poker games:
- Gold Coins
- Sweeps Coins
Gold Coins are a free-to-play virtual currency. All Gold Coin games are free (you receive free Gold Coins on sign-up) but your winnings have no cash value.
Players who buy additional Gold Coins receive a second virtual currency called Sweeps Coins. These can be used in separate Sweeps Coin ring games, tournaments, sit & go’s, and regular live tournament series with major guarantees.
Players can accumulate Sweeps Coins and cash them in for real cash prizes. Global Poker’s unique sweepstakes model offers a fun social gaming experience but also the opportunity to play 100% legal online poker for real money.
Global is owned and operated by VGW Holdings Limited, which is publicly traded and incorporated in Australia. The Malta Gaming Authority regulates VCW’s social gaming platforms.
Players can also expect fair games with secure account information and player funds. The site offers the following poker variations with stakes for every bankroll level:
- Texas Hold’em
- Crazy Pineapple
New Yorkers looking to get in the action without heading across the border may find Global Poker a fun option. Check out the exclusive USPoker exclusive bonus offer below for a free $20 package just for signing up or a $40 package for depositing $20.
Online Poker in New Jersey & Pennsylvania
Another option for New Yorkers looking to play online poker is to travel to New Jersey or Pennsylvania. As mentioned, you can create and fund your account right from New York, then head across the border to play online.
Online poker has been legal in New Jersey since 2013 and has multiple online poker sites operating under partnerships with legals casino. Here’s a look at the sites offered:
WSOP.com – $10 Free
WSOP.com leads the market and having shared player pools with Nevada and Delaware helps. WSOP.com offers daily guaranteed tourneys, cash games, major tournament series and shots to win WSOP online bracelets and circuit rings. 888poker, a renowned international brand in its own right, shares software and players with WSOP.com
PokerStars – $30 Free Play on $20 Deposit
An internationally recognized name in the industry with the largest poker site in the world. The site runs tons of daily cash games and guaranteed tournaments, major tournament series (eg. the $1.2m NJSCOOP) and big promotions from time to time. Zoom Poker (fast-fold poker) and Jackpot Spin & Gos also bring in a ton of players as do its selection of mixed games – one of the rare poker sites that goes well above and beyond the usual selection of online Texas Hold’em games.
partypoker – $25 Free
Another proven international online site. NJ also offers BetMGM and BorgataPoker.com as partypoker skins in the state. All three sites share player pools in NJ.
partypoker has much improved software and a redesigned poker app specifically designed for playing one-tap poker in portrait mode. It also has one of the biggest free no deposit poker bonuses going:
Online poker in Pennsylvania has been limited to just one site for now, but it’s a winner in PokerStars. partypoker is expected to join the fold later in 2020.
PokerStars – $30 Free play on $20 Deposit
The platform launched in November 2019 and is a fenced-in market in PA. The site has been popular with players eager to get back online and has featured several major online series similar to offering in NJ, but generally with larger guarantees.
Real Money Poker Apps in NY
Along with offering play on traditional poker software, all operators in NJ and PA offer real money poker apps. These take the online poker experience and distill it down for ease of use and the ability to play anywhere.
Poker apps are tailored for simple tap functionality and game play and easy to navigate lobbies. Most events offered online can also be found on the app.
Downloading is simple and clicking through our links will take you directly to your poker site of choice. From there you can download the app and claim your welcome bonus.
It’s important to note that online poker operators use geolocation software to ensure players are located within a legal jurisdiction. Players can still sign up, deposit, and withdraw funds from anywhere however.
How to Open a New Online Poker Account in NY
Once you’re ready to play some online poker, signing up is quick and easy. Players will simply need to input some basic information like:
Once that’s finished, you may need to confirm your identity and email but that only takes a few minutes. What’s great for online players is that most sites offer great bonuses for making a deposit and a free no deposit poker bonus you can use for real-money play just for signing up.
Those deposit bonuses can account for hundreds of free dollars to play. Making a deposit and taking advantage of those only takes a few minutes. Standard industry deposit methods include the following:
- E-check bank payments (ACH transfers)
- Wire payments
- E-wallets such as Neteller
- Cash at partner casinos
Once that’s complete, finding a game and some stakes that suit you is as easy as navigating into the lobby. Players will find something for every bankroll:
- Cash games
- Multi-table tournaments
- Sit & go tournaments
- Jackpot-style tournament events
- Major tournament series
You also have the option at most sites to play for free money with no deposit. This offers a great opportunity to learn the software and sharpen up on your skills.
Are Legal Online Poker Sites Safe?
All legal NJ and PA poker sites must meet gaming commission approval, licensure, and regulation. Players can feel comfortable playing online here and a level of security they might not find in unregulated offshore sites.
All transactions on legal sites are encrypted and player funds are kept separately so they’re secure. Payments and cash outs are quick and simple.
This isn’t always the case with offshore poker sites, with slow payouts a common complaint. Players also don’t have the security of regulators like the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement and Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
These governmental bodies ensure that online operators are secure and following proper procedures. Online gaming sites must be licensed just like any other land-based casino.
Government regulation also offers players some recourse in the event there is a concern with an operator as well. Players can feel safe using one of the online poker sites in NJ or PA. Read more about safe poker sites here:
Which Poker Sites Could Open in New York?
New York has long been home to several tribal casinos and racinos. However, in 2013, voters approved a measure allowing up to seven commercial casinos in the state as well.
Players looking for live poker in New York at least have a few options with some nice-sized card rooms. Those include:
- Turning Stone (Verona) – 32 tables
- Resorts World Catskills (Montricello) – 19 tables
- Rivers Casino (Schenectady) – 16 tables
- Seneca Niagara (Niagara Falls) – 23 tables
- Del Lago (Waterloo) – 14 tables
- Tioga Downs (Nichols) – 12 tables
- Seneca Allegany (Salamanca) – 8 tables
A few of these stand out when it comes to considering possible online poker in a regulated New York market. Other legal states allow properties to enter into partnerships with major online poker operators for iPoker and iGaming.
Turning Stone remains one of the biggest live poker site in the state and even hosted some televised events during the poker boom. It could be a player with a major partner if laws are changed.
Rivers Casino is owned by Rush Street Gaming, which also has casinos with the Rivers brand in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and Des Plaines, Illinois. The company has signalled it would eventually offer online poker in Pennsylvania, but there was no news of a launch as of April 2020.
That doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be possible, especially if New York did legalize online poker. Rush Street offers online gaming and sports betting in PA. A similar move would be expected in NY and poker might also be an option.
With a population of 20 million, New York represents the “big fish” sought by many industry observers. A large state like NY or California included in an interstate compact could be a game changer for the regulated US online poker industry.
If that did happen, look for major operators in the four current legalized states to jump in on the action. That could include:
Other players might be willing to jump into the fray as well. Rivers partners with Unibet in Pennsylvania. Unibet is a trusted online gaming brand in Europe where it also offers poker. That could be ramped up in the US with a successful NY legalization effort. If NY legalized online poker, other states might be willing to get in on the action too.
Current Online Poker Status in New York
Poker players in NY may have found their frustration growing over the last few years. Despite legislative efforts in 2019, action on the online poker issue stalled and nothing was done.
That came after similar inaction in 2016 and 2017 after the Senate passed bills but the Assembly failed to act. Similar efforts to legalize for mobile sports betting also failed in 2019.
In January 2020, the same bill from 2019 was again assigned to the Senate’s Gaming, Racing and Wagering Committee. The bill would authorize up to 11 licenses at $10 million each, each valid for 10 years. The state would tax revenue at a rate of 15%, similar to New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
New York citizens will have to become more active if they want online poker in their state.
The Wire Act’s Effects on Online Poker in New York
Another hindrance to the online gaming industry is the Wire Act. In 2019, the US Department of Justice changed a previous opinion and now argued the act applies to online gaming as a whole and not just sports betting.
The ruling would have made interstate compacts illegal and could have repercussions beyond poker, but also lotteries, horse racing, and other iGaming opportunities. As of April 2020, the issue was still in court.
The DOJ lost the first round in court but appealed the ruling.The entire issue could ultimately wind up in front of the Supreme Court. The battle has hurt the expansion of interstate compacts.
Small populous (and small poker player pool) states like West Virginia may need these compacts for poker to survive. That probably wouldn’t be the case in New York. But adding its population to a shared liquidity pool would see a massive influx of players and prize pools.
New York online poker history
New York has long been home to several tribal casinos and racinos. However, in 2013, voters passed a measure to allow up to seven commercial casinos in the state.
So far, four commercial casinos have appeared in New York. They are:
- Del Lago Resort & Casino, Waterloo
- Rivers Casino & Resort, Schenectady
- Resorts World Catskills, Monticello
- Tioga Downs Casino, Nichols
Since then, legislators have been trying since 2014 to legalize online poker. Bills by Sen. John Bonacic and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow have had varying levels of success in making their way through the legislative bodies, but ultimately, all have died.
The notable parts of the bills have been their proposed regulations. They have made several recommendations, such as:
- Up to 10 licensees may operate online poker sites
- The licensing fee is $10 million
- Revenue would be taxed at 15 percent
- New York could enter into shared liquidity agreements with other states
New York online poker FAQ
How many poker players are there in NY?
That isn’t known exactly but it’s a good bet there are hundreds of thousands who would be ready to play poker online. Some may already be playing online in NJ and PA on occasion.
Major tournament series at properties like the Borgata in New Jersey and card rooms at NY casinos like Turning Stone have no lack of players.
The Empire State has also been home to some of the biggest names in poker including Erik Seidel, Alex Foxen, Bryn Kenney, Isaac Haxton, Scott Seiver, Nick Schulman, Vanessa Selbst, Shaun Deeb, and numerous others.
Why is New York considering legalizing online poker?
New Yorkers have played on unregulated online poker sites that operate without basic consumer protections. Legalization of the game will provide a safe environment for players while generating significant revenue for state coffers.
Due to this, the bills have gained widespread support from powerful casino lobbyists and a bevy of legislators.
When can players expect a bill to pass?
2020, at the earliest. Because New York is still working to get its act together on sports betting, legislators will likely feel more pressure to authorize that type of gambling first.
The Meadowlands Racetrack opened its sportsbook on July 14, 2018. The track’s proximity to New York City — 6 miles — means that legislators will have to watch New York dollars cross into New Jersey for several months.
Online poker’s best hope would be to piggyback itself onto a sports betting bill. However, it is unknown if such an amendment would be acceptable to pass.
However, New York’s land-based casinos have fallen short of revenue projections so far. It is possible that legislators could see online poker as a way to prop up those bottom lines.
Despite considerable support, the online poker bills have not made much headway in recent years. It’s a good bet that won’t change in 2020 and players may have to look to 2021.
Will New York offer online casino games?
Unlikely. Legislators have presented online poker bills in the last five years, and none of them have mentioned legalizing online casino games.
Would New York enter into to pooling agreements with other states?
Likely. The proposed laws in the past have specifically granted that right to New York’s government once online poker itself was up and running.
However, the US Justice Department has thrown the entire notion of interstate pooling into question with its January 2019 Wire Act opinion. Although the government agency is fighting litigation over the decision and has delayed any enforcement until the latter part of 2020, there is still a cloud over any type of expansion plans for interstate poker.
Should New York legalize online poker, how long will it take for sites to get up and running?
Up to a year. Under the most recent bill, the state would not grant licenses for 180 days after the passage of regulations. The operators’ readiness level will depend on how long an approval process would take after those 180 days.
Would out-of-state players be able to wager on New York online poker sites?
Possibly. In previously proposed bills, geolocation enforcement fell under the purview of the New York State Gaming Commission. However, players would not need a New York address to play on a state-regulated online poker site.
Can New Yorkers make any kinds of online wagers?
Sort of. The legislature passed a bill to allow daily fantasy sports play in 2016.
But, that law has experienced some legal setbacks. So, it’s unknown what the long-term outlook for DFS in New York is.