Whether you’re a seasoned player or a curious newcomer, this page will provide a comprehensive overview of New York’s gambling environment. While there are no legal real-money online casinos in NY yet, plenty of free options are available for some slot spinning or table gaming fun.
Our experts have explored all types of legal gambling options available in the Empire State, including social and sweepstakes casinos, land-based facilities, lottery, bingo, pari-mutuel horse racing betting, sports betting, and other online gambling options like Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS). We also answer your most commonly asked questions.
New York players have several options for online casinos even though real money offerings have not been legalized. Social and sweepstakes online casinos offer many of the same games as real-money sites, including online slots, jackpots, and table games such as blackjack and roulette.
Players can enjoy these games for free, and some sweeps sites even offer bonuses that you can redeem for real cash prizes. While there are currently no legal options for real money online casinos in New York, these free options provide a fun and risk-free way to enjoy gambling online.
Gambling is specifically banned in New York’s constitution - unless legalized on an individual basis. While the state passed a law in 1894 that banned most gaming options, it slowly started legalizing specific offerings, beginning with the state lottery in 1967.
Today, gambling is a significant industry in New York, with a wide variety of legal options available, such as land-based casinos, lotteries, bingo, DFS, and sports betting. In-person and online sports betting is legal in New York, with roughly a dozen retail facilities accepting wagers and nine online sportsbooks available. It is the nation’s largest legal sports betting market by handle, generating more than $10 billion in bets annually.
“Las Vegas-style” land-based casinos are available in upstate New York but not in New York City or its surrounding counties. As of 2023, roughly a dozen gaming stakeholders are bidding for one of three downstate casino licenses. These full-scale casinos are expected to open in the coming years.
Gambling has a long and complex history in New York, dating back to the early 19th century.
In 1894, the state passed a law that made virtually all forms of gambling illegal, including horse racing, which had previously been allowed. The state peeled away at the moratorium with a state lottery in 1967.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the state began to allow Native American tribes to operate casinos on reservations. There are now a dozen tribal gaming centers in the state. Those accompany another group of horse tracks and other gaming facilities with more limited options. The three downstate casinos are expected to be the state’s highest-grossing gaming entities when they open later this decade.
For much of its history, land-based casinos were prohibited. This changed with the growth of tribal gaming in the 1990’s and extended with the state’s first commercial facilities in the ensuing decades.
In addition to tribal casinos, commercial casinos are open in upstate New York. Still, no such facilities are available in New York City or its surrounding counties due to a moratorium imposed by the state. That was repealed in the mid-2010’s.
There are also roughly a dozen horse race tracks in the state of New York, with pari-mutuel horse racing betting available within most. Some of these racetracks also operate casino-style facilities called racinos.
Online and in-person sports betting are legal in New York. Retail sportsbooks launched in 2019 and online operators followed in January 2022.
Nine online sportsbooks are available, and 11 retail facilities accept wagers. Operators include major national brands such as FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, and Caesars.
Then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the state’s online sports betting in April 2021. Operators are subject to a 51% tax on revenues, the highest rate of any multi-operator market in the country. Bettors cannot wager on in-state college teams.
Many other types of gambling, like DFS, lottery games, and bingo, are legal in New York.
Daily Fantasy Sports contests are legal in the state, and DFS operators like FanDuel and DraftKings accept players from NY. This hasn’t always been the case: In 2015, the State’s Attorney General ordered FanDuel and DraftKings to cease operations of DFS, causing them to stop offering their DFS product. This led Cuomo to sign a DFS legalization bill in 2016.
Online poker, like online casinos, remains illegal in New York. However, poker players can head to brick-and-mortar facilities and play poker in person.
A state lottery, the New York Lottery, was founded in 1967 and offers lottery games at retailers across NY.
Bingo is also legal in the Empire State but restricted to in-person venues.
New York is among the likeliest jurisdictions to approve real money online casino gaming, possibly as early as 2024. Proponents are set to re-introduce legislation in January 2024 with hopes gaming could begin as early as that year.
Elected officials are also awaiting winning bids for the three downstate casino licenses. The announcement, expected in 2024, could help shape the future of online gaming.
Online poker is also being discussed in the debate around legalizing iGaming. Poker players must travel to in-person poker rooms, casinos, or New Jersey, to legally play for real money online.
You can find the best sweepstakes casinos in New York by following the links to sites on this page. Our review team examines operators and reviews them on factors including game selection, safety, deposit methods, and mobile play. We also use our impartial algorithm, CasinoMeta, to compare our ratings against other industry experts and existing player rankings.
You can trust our recommended New York online casinos to provide a safe and secure playing environment. Our top-rated sites use security measures including SSL encryption and random number generators to ensure your safety while playing. Our experts also thoroughly vet each site to ensure fair treatment.
Social casino coins are virtual currencies used in social casino games to play and win rewards. Two types of social coins are Gold Coins and Sweeps Coins. You can claim Gold Coins through bonuses or purchased in bundles which are used to play games in social casinos.
Sweep coins, on the other hand, can only be claimed through bonuses. You can even exchange Sweeps Coins for real-life prizes, such as cash or other rewards. Understanding the difference between these two types of coins is essential for players to maximize their social casino gaming experience.
Usually, bank cards like Visa and Mastercard are among the most accepted and trusted payment methods at New York online casinos, allowing you to purchase Gold Coins. Credit and debit cards are usually accepted.
Still, offering lightning-quick transactions, e-wallets like PayPal, Neteller, and Skrill are equally popular with NY sweepstakes casino players thanks to their ease of use and safety.
When it comes to casinos in New York, there are two main types to consider: social casinos and real-money casinos. While both offer many of the same games, these operators differ significantly in terms of wagering and payouts.
Social casinos and sweepstakes casinos allow users to play games without risking any real money. These sites often provide virtual credits that you can use to play slot machines, table games, and other casino favorites. While users can purchase additional credits to continue playing, they can never win real money.
Real-money casinos allow players to wager and win actual currency. These casinos require users to deposit funds into an account, which they can then use to play games such as blackjack, roulette, and slots. Because of the potential for payouts, real-money casinos are subject to stricter regulations than social casinos.
The only real money casinos in the Empire State are in land-based facilities in upstate New York with more set to come downstate later this decade. Lawmakers are considering legalizing these games digitally but it many not be until 2024 – or later.
One key decision point for both social and real-money casinos is RTP or Return to Player. This refers to the percentage of wagered money a casino game will return to players over time on average. While paying attention to the RTP can help your bankroll last longer, most digital casino games (specifically slots) still come down to random chance, and there is nothing you can do to influence the outcome.
Different players have different interests, and our range of recommended casinos will suit every New York casino player. While some players may prioritize generous bonuses, others may be more interested in sites with larger game collections. That’s why OnlineCasinos.com’s experts consider these different factors carefully and have outlined the best sites for specific aspects, such as the best welcome bonus or the most extensive games library.
Players need accurate and detailed information to make the best decisions. That’s why we provide comprehensive online casino reviews, detailed information on bonuses and promotions, and a breakdown of each site’s games catalog. With all of this information at your fingertips, you can make the best decision when choosing a sweeps or social casino site.