New York is where the ‘Black Friday’ indictments which finally took the major international poker sites out of the US was organized. While this indicates that the State law enforcement authorities believed those sites to be illegal – it does not give the full picture of poker in New York State. There are plenty of opportunities for poker games, at tribal casinos and via the social poker laws. Online poker sites operating from overseas continue to offer internet poker games to residents here too.

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In the absence of real money NY poker sites, there are sweepstakes poker sites that currently welcome players in New York. The most popular of these sites is Global Poker, where players from every US state except Washington can play. Sweepstakes sites use virtual currencies rather than real money. Global Poker uses Gold Coins and Sweeps Coins.

This page gives you an overview of all the different ways you can enjoy poker in New York State. First of all, live poker rooms are covered – these are at Tribal casinos in NY. After that you’ll find info on what is allowed and what is not in the social poker sphere – including home games, bar tournament leagues and charity poker events too. Next opportunities for enjoying online poker are covered, with offshore sites and the potential for future regulation the main subjects. Towards the bottom of this page you will find an analysis of the key wording relating to poker from the New York law books, followed by a high level summary and some final thoughts.

Live Poker Games In New York State

There are currently 7 poker rooms available in New York, these are located in Tribal casinos around the State and some of them are approaching mid-size. You’ll find tournament tours including the popular Heartland Poker tour stopping here, as well as regular tournament and cash game action all year around. Recently, State licensed casinos have been approved for the under-developed areas upstate from NY City. The first licenses are expected to be awarded later in 2014.

For poker fans who like to travel, there are several more opportunities within a few hours drive of New York. These include the casino resorts of Atlantic City to the south, and the huge Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun in Connecticut to the north.

Are Home Games Legal In NY State?

You can enjoy social home games in New York. There is a requirement that the game is played on ‘equal terms’ as well as the usual nobody making a profit from running the game stipulation. As usual, small stakes home games are very rarely busted, you’d need to be playing for big money and making a profit from running the game to catch the attention of the law enforcement agencies on this front.

Free bar poker leagues run in New York, as usual these are more social than anything else – with no entry fees and minimal prizes. Charity poker events also run here, you’ll need to get approval from the gaming control board before running one.

Online Poker Games In New York State

The 2011 crack-down citing the Federal UIGEA laws was organized by New York. The legal cases which came from this all involved banking and money-laundering type charges, so no precedent was set that operating online poker games or playing them was actually illegal.

Offshore poker sites based on some of the Caribbean islands continue to offer real money online poker games to New York State residents to this day. These sites are legal in their own countries and argue that they can accept business from the US under free trade agreements. While I am sure that many anti-gambling politicians and law enforcement agents do not agree – the fact is that thousands of Americans play at these sites every single day.

There are no current discussions on legalizing or regulating online poker games here. I do not see a strong enough anti-gambling movement to stop this State from joining a future wave of States who regulate online poker games though.

New York Online Poker – What Do The Statutes Say?

As a poker player, you might be please to know that the gambling laws in New York State are aimed squarely at the organizers and those making a profit by running gambling games – with players in them rarely mentioned at all.

The key element here is the ‘contest of chance’, this can include an element of skill – which rules of the ‘Skill game’ argument for poker. As usual the definition of illegal gambling is super-broad, allowing specific carve-outs to be made for approved formats on a case-by-case basis.

Here is the key contest of chance definition, this is from section 225 of the Statutes which covers gambling definitions:

…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…

New York Poker – Summing It Up

Progress is being made in New York, which is changing from a generally anti-gambling State to one where new casinos are now being licensed. There are already a good selection of poker rooms and several social outlets for poker – as well as the offshore poker sites.

While I do not see New York State as being in any hurry to legalize online poker, there is no evidence to rule them out of some future group of States regulating these games.

There are two options for NY online casinos. New Yorkers have access to sweepstakes casinos, where they can play for cash prizes. Or, New Yorkers can access NJ online casinos to play for real money, if they head to New Jersey.

New York State does not have legal online casinos – but New Yorkers do have access to sweepstakes casinos. By using this alternative online gaming method, folks in the state can play their go-to casino games to win gift cards and cash prizes. Online sports betting is also not available but NY legislators are currently working to change that in 2021.

Make no mistake, these prizes are earned by winning the games. You’re not playing for an entry to a prize drawing or giveaway – what you redeem is yours to keep.

Sweepstakes casinos are the ultimate alternative to the online casino and can save you a trip to New Jersey or Pennsylvania to get your gaming fix.

The Best Sweepstakes Online Casino Sites In NY

The best sweepstakes casino sites are Chumba Casino and LuckyLand. And they’re the only two you should play. All other sweepstakes casinos have not built a good enough reputation to risk it.

However, Global Poker, which is owned by the same company that owns Chumba Casino, is a legitimate sweepstakes poker site that also features a few casino games. If you enjoy multiplayer poker as well as casino games, that’s a great choice for folks located in New York State.

The best sweepstakes casino sites in New York also happen to be the best choices in the country. All US states (except for the State of Washington) have access to Chumba and LuckyLand, and thousands of people across the country have won enough points to redeem for cash prizes and gift cards.

The bad news is that New York limits your cash prize redemption to $5,000, and it’s one of only a couple of states to do so. This maximum is explicitly stated on the Chumba and LuckyLand websites.

The games available at sweepstakes casinos are mainly slots. However, Chumba offers blackjack, roulette, and video poker. LuckyLand also has a few online scratch-offs. But the sweepstakes casinos are mostly for slots players, as the selection is tremendous in comparison to the other choices.

Legal Online Casinos In NY

There are currently no legal online casinos in New York State.

Further, New York State has not legalized online sportsbooks. Governor Andrew Cuomo believes that sports betting sites and apps would require an update to the constitution. That means it could take years before online sports betting comes to NYS.

Despite NYS legalizing sports betting by amending its state constitution in 2013, the first physical sportsbooks didn’t open until 2019. Now, there are a few in-person sports betting retailers in Upstate New York. Unless the unexpected happens, online sportsbooks won’t enter the NYS market until 2023 or later.

In terms of online casinos, there has been no push whatsoever for their legalization. It’s safe to assume that won’t be on the docket until after online sports betting enters the market. And if that generates revenue for the state, online casino considerations will probably be made.

So, it’s a safe bet that New York State won’t offer legal online casinos until at least 2025.

How To Gamble Online In NY

Play At A Sweepstakes Online Casino

Because you’re using currency that’s specific to the sweepstakes casino, you’re not gambling real-money on the site. That’s why it’s legal in NY.

However, you are playing with in-site coins that can be redeemed for cash prizes and gift cards, which makes it a comparable experience to a real-money online casino.

Besides the currency, the biggest difference between a sweepstakes casino and a legal online casino is the game selection. The best online casinos in New Jersey, for example, have a massive selection of every type of game. Some have dozens of choices for just blackjack variations, and that’s not to mention hundreds of slots.

Still, both the Chumba Casino and LuckyLand have a nice selection of slots. Chumba has around 70 titles, which means most people’s playing preference should be covered. If you’re strictly a blackjack player, you only have one option between the two sites. But it has some player-friend rules that give it a low house edge.

All in all, online sweepstakes casino sites are a good choice for winning cash online in New York.

Play At New Jersey Online Casinos

New Jersey is one of a few states that legalized online casinos. And it’s completely legal for New Yorkers to travel into the state of New Jersey to play at their online casinos. New Jersey has some of the top online casinos including DraftKings and Golden Nugget.

In fact, NYS residents can register for the online casino from New York. They can also make a deposit and take advantage of any welcome bonuses. But to place a legal bet on the site, you need to be physically located in the State of New Jersey.

That’s why the online casino will require that you let them know your location while you’re using the app or on the site. It’s against state law to accept wagers outside of the state.

See our full guide to NJ Online Gambling.

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All of the above listed online casinos offer iOS and Android apps that accept New York residents. To place bets and win money, you need to travel to New Jersey, whether by car, train, or ferry. Once you leave NJ state lines, you can no longer place bets until you return.

Play At Pennsylvania Online Casinos

Pennsylvania is another neighboring state that allows New York residents to play at their online casinos. The only stipulations are that you’re at least 21 years old and within PA state lines.

Just like with New Jersey online casinos, New Yorkers can join one or all the PA online casinos from home. They can also make a deposit and claim their welcome bonuses. But to start betting, you need to be physically inside the state of Pennsylvania.

The easiest way to verify that you’re in the state is by downloading the online casino app for iOS or Android, then allowing the app to know your location. However, you can also verify your location using most desktop or laptop computers.

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Caesars100% first-deposit match up to $300
DraftKings Casino100% match up to $1,500 + $75 in casino credits with $5 deposit
Unibet$10 no-deposit bonus; 100% first-deposit match up to $500

In the State of PA, Caesars, DraftKings, and Unibet all also take sports bets. However, the sportsbook may be a different app. The same login and bankroll should apply to both versions of the gambling site.

Five-Minute Guide To Sweepstakes Casinos In NY

How Do Sweepstakes Casinos Work In NY?

A sweepstakes casino works by giving people located in the State of New York access to legal online casino games.

Sweepstakes casinos are not considered gambling sites because you cannot use real money to place bets. Instead, you play the games using site-specific currency, namely Gold Coins or Sweeps Coins.

You can switch between Gold Coin or Sweeps Coin play at the top of the online casino website or within the different games. The currency doesn’t change the game; instead, it changes what type of coin you’re using to win.

Whichever coin you use to play is the coin rewarded if you win the game.

How Do You Win Cash Prizes By Playing Online?

To win cash prizes at a sweepstakes online casino, you need to play with Sweeps Coins.

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You’ll receive Sweeps Coins when you sign up at the sweepstakes casino. Both LuckyLand and Chumba also reward additional Sweeps Coins each time you log in on the site.

Other ways to receive Sweeps Coins is by mailing in a request, participating in a social media contest, or by purchasing Gold Coin packages that include Sweeps Coins.

You’ll then need to use those Sweeps Coins to play the games. All Sweeps Coins that you win are redeemable. However, you need a minimum amount to redeem for a gift card or cash prize.

At Chumba Casino, a minimum of 10 Sweeps Coins are required for a gift card, and 100 Sweeps Coins are needed for a cash prize. At LuckyLand, you can redeem for a cash prize with 50 Sweeps Coins, and the same is true for Global Poker, which also offers some quality sweepstakes casino games, including two versions of blackjack.

How Do You Access Sweepstakes Casino Sites In NY?

You can access the Chumba Casino in New York through the web browser on your mobile or desktop device. Unfortunately, it is not available on iOS or Android. Chumba Casino did have an app at one point, but it’s no longer available.

Do not download any apps from third-party sites claiming to be Chumba Casino. If Chumba does end up offering an app again, they will offer it directly on their website.

LuckyLand can be accessed via web browsers, and they offer an Android app as well.

How Do Purchases Work At NY’s Sweepstakes Casino Sites?

The most popular way to receive additional Sweeps Coins is by purchasing Gold Coins. At both Chumba and LuckyLand, some packs of Gold Coins include Sweeps Coins, while others do not.

For example, purchasing one million Gold Coins will only cost five dollars at Chumba Casino. But it includes a handful of Sweeps Coins as well, which can then be used to play the games and win additional Sweeps Coins. If you win enough to redeem, you can do so for cash prizes or gift cards.

Just make sure the Gold Coin package that you’re purchasing includes Sweeps Coins.

What Are The Sweepstakes Casino Purchase And Redemption Options?

You can purchase Gold Coins at sweepstakes casinos using the following payment methods:

  • Online Banking via Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and more.
  • Credit or Debit Card, including MasterCard, Visa, Amex, and Discover.
  • Skrill, a popular e-wallet that’s similar to PayPal.
  • PaySafeCard, a prepaid card that’s available at many major retailers.

To redeem your cash prize, you can use online banking or Skrill. To redeem your gift card, you’ll just need to provide your email address so they can send you the digital gift certificate.

How Does Entry By Mail Work At Sweepstakes Casino Sites in NY?

You can enter for Sweeps Coins by mail at Chumba and LuckyLand by sending the request via the postal service. Doing so grants you five free Sweeps Coins to your account.

Be sure to follow the instructions to a T on their website. Use the right sized envelope and paper. Print extremely legibly. Use their exact wording on the website. And be sure that you only make one request per envelope.

There doesn’t seem to be a limit on how many requests by post you can make, but you’ll likely want to double-check that before making a second request.

What Are The Bonuses At Sweepstakes Casinos In NY?

The bonuses at the sweepstakes casinos available to folks in New York State are mainly discounts on Gold Coins packages that include Sweeps Coins.

For example, newly registered players will likely be offered 50% off. A Labor Day Sale might be 20% off.

If you opt-in to email offers, you’ll be notified of any bonus opportunities.

Are Sweepstakes Sites Legal In NY?

Yes. Sweepstakes sites are legal in New York State and everywhere else in the US and Canada except for the State of Washington and Quebec. New Yorkers in NYC as well as Upstate both have full access to all sweepstakes websites.

Sweepstakes are actually expressly allowed via New York State law. That’s good for those who are careful about keeping all online gaming legal. But the bad news is that there are specific regulations regarding sweepstakes as a result of its legality.

Rather than receiving any size cash prize like in most states, New Yorkers are limited to cash prizes of $5,000.

Can I Trust Sweepstakes Sites To Pay My Winnings?

Yes, you can trust Chumba Casino and LuckyLand to grant you your cash prize or gift card, whichever you choose. As long as you’ve won enough Sweeps Coins to redeem, you won’t have a problem doing so.

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However, that’s not an umbrella endorsement of all sweepstakes websites in the world. Chumba and LuckyLand are the only two sweepstakes casinos that you can be sure offer fair games, legitimate gift cards, and actual cash prizes.

Global Poker also offers a nice selection of casino games, and they reward cash prizes without an issue.

For all other sites, be sure to do extensive research to make sure it’s a legitimate sweepstakes site.

What Are The Types Of Games Available At NY’s Sweepstakes Casinos?

Slots At Chumba Casino

Chumba Casino boasts a large selection of slots. They span every type of genre, including pop culture references, fantasy themes, and more. You can also find both classic three-reel slots as well as five-reel slots with immersive graphics and special features.

The most popular slots at Chumba are the progressive jackpots. At the time of writing this article, there were 12 different options, and the one shared by Stallion Grand and Dancing Gold was the highest at 720,000 Sweeps Coins.

Chumba is also committed to regularly adding additional slots games. Usually, the rollouts coincide with the season. For example, a holiday slot around Christmastime.

Slots At LuckyLand

LuckyLand has about half as many slots as Chumba. Still, it’s an impressive selection, with a wide range of options that will cover most preferences.

Whether you like the bonus features and special symbols or the barebones options, you should be able to find something worth trying at LuckyLand.

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Like Chumba Casino, LuckyLand also has some progressive jackpot slots. But most of the progressive games are tied to each other, meaning a handful of games will all share the same progressive.

The most popular LuckyLand slot is Neon Valley, which has its own progressive jackpot on top of the shared one. At the time of writing this, it was over 100,000 Sweeps Coins.

Table Games At Chumba Casino

Chumba Casino offers four table games alongside its slots. And half of them are roulette.

At Chumba, you can play the traditional American roulette, which has two green pockets. You can also play American Roulette x2, where you can place side bets on a separate dice roll. It’s two ways to win in one.

As mentioned above, Chumba’s blackjack has some attractive rules. For example, the dealer stands on soft 17, the player can hit on split aces, and blackjack pays 3 to 2.

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Chumba Casino’s fourth non-slot game is Jacks or Better video poker, which has the best “return to player” out of all other video poker variations.

Can You Play Poker Online For Real Money In New York

Scratch Cards At LuckyLand

LuckyLand may not have any table games like Chumba, but they do have a few instant win games.

These digital scratch-offs let you choose the value of the card, then reveal covered spaces in the hopes of winning a multiplier.

The rules of the different options are similar to scratch cards that you’d buy through the New York State Lottery.

NY Sweepstakes Casinos FAQ

No. New York State has not legalized online casinos for real money.

The only states that have legally-licensed online casinos are Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

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To play legal, real-money casino games in New York, you need to travel to one of the many brick-and-mortar locations across the state.

No. You need to be physically located in the State of New Jersey to place bets at their legal online casinos.

However, residents in New York can sign up and make a deposit from NY. Some online casinos in New Jersey also let you play their games in demo mode. But you have to be within state lines to play for real money.

Yes. Chumba Casino is available in New York. It is legal to purchase Gold Coins for Sweeps Coins. You can also legally redeem your sweeps coins for cash prizes and gift cards. New Yorkers can also play Chumba Casino while being physically located practically anywhere else in the country.

Yes. LuckyLand is available in New York State. LuckyLand members located in New York have access to all their games as well as cash and gift card redemption. New Yorkers can play for fun with Gold Coins or win Sweeps Coins to redeem for prizes. This applies to both New York City residents as well as Upstate New Yorkers.

No. But you can win cash prizes or gift cards at sweepstakes sites. This is not a site that rewards you in “giveaways” or “chances to win.” Instead, you win Sweeps Coins that can then be redeemed for cash prizes or gift cards. How much you win is entirely dependent on how many Sweeps Coins you’ve won.

How old do I have to be to play at sweepstakes casino sites in NY?

18. You need to be at least 18 years or older to play at sweepstakes casino sites in New York. You will receive some bonus Sweeps Coins by verifying your age and identity, which you’ll need to do before you can receive cash prizes or gift cards.

Do NY’s sweepstakes sites have progressive jackpots?

Yes. Both Chumba Casino and LuckyLand have progressive jackpots. Some of the available progressives can reward over a million Sweeps Coins. In many states, that can result in a massive, life-changing cash prize. Unfortunately, New York State limits your sweepstakes cash redemption to $5,000.

What other sites operate on a sweepstakes model?

Aside from Chumba Casino and LuckyLand, the only other sweepstakes casino that may be worth joining is Funpointz.

Global Poker is one of the best poker sites in the US, with a huge interstate player pool, and it has a sweepstakes model structure.

For sweepstakes sports betting, FendOff is a good choice, although visiting a brick-and-mortar sportsbook in New York will more than likely offer better odds.