New York Online Poker
The Empire State has the third highest population of all the United States, and this, coupled with its reputation as a technological hub with some of the country’s wealthiest citizens and companies, makes New York ideal for legal online poker. Or so it would seem. While a New York court has found online poker to be a game of skill, many still question this and are concerned that the activity could come under laws deeming games of chance illegal.
Legal poker in New York? Well, it’s a gray area, as are a number of other states. While neighboring New Jersey is one of the three states with legal poker sites New York is yet to follow suit, and even its most famous professional poker players can often be seen playing the live games further south at one of the NJ casinos.
Still, the notable ruling that poker is not covered by the Wire Act originated in NY in 2011, as did the landmark DiCristina case regarding poker as a game of skill, giving hope to those keen to see legal online poker New York’s next big splash. That judicial ruling followed queries about online lottery ticket sales in New York and Illinois, but there remains optimism that the enthusiasm for legal online poker in New York ultimately wins through. As the state motto goes: Excelsior!
New York also has a number of land-based casinos, including the likes of Turning Stone, and a number of big tournaments have been held there. This is another reason to retain hope of seeing legal poker sites in New York sooner rather than later, however players currently have to make do with playing on legal online poker networks and sites licensed offshore, albeit with no risk of prosecution for merely playing online poker.
What is the DiCristina case?
This case concerns poker player Lawrence DiCristina, who fought an illegal gambling charge after taking a small rake from his regular home poker game in Staten Island. His legal defense included a claim that poker should be classed as a game of skill rather than chance, a standpoint supported by the presiding judge. However the case was subsequently taken to another court where DiCristina was found against. In 2019, the Supreme Court rejected his appeal, however in the past few years DiCristina himself has been active in live poker tournaments and raised awareness of his situation.
Is the lower gambling age likely to feature in online gambling debates?
In New York the legal age of gambling is 18, lower than the age of 21 that is common across much of the rest of the States, however this is simply a threshold set under state law. We have no reason to believe New York legal online poker would be treated any differently for this reason alone.
Could New York’s Indian casinos have a say?
They would certainly like to have their voices heard. The Seneca Tribe in particular has expressed concerns about legal online poker sites, New York or at a federal level, taking away from the footfall that brings business to their land-based venues. However if legal poker sites elsewhere are seen to help land-based businesses then there is a chance of these concerns becoming a little less vocal.
Might New York legal poker sites benefit from the voices of local players?
There are a number of well respected poker players to hail from New York, including multiple World Series of Poker bracelet winner Vanessa Selbst and November Niners Eric Buchman and Ylon Schwartz. With such a well established New York poker roster there might be a chance of people sitting up and listening if some big names get behind the push for online poker in new York, but currently the best poker sites in New York are not as widespread as they were before UIGEA.