You can now enjoy your favorite casino card games and table games online in New York state.
While real money casino games aren’t yet available, there are online casinos that offer slick free-to-play games available on your desktop or mobile devices. All it takes is a simple log-in, and you are ready to go.
Let’s examine the kinds of games you will find to play online and which sites offer the best ones.
Best alternatives for NY online casino players
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NY online casino laws in October 2023
Gambling laws in New York state have moved quickly over the past few years.
Sports betting is now legal in the state, both in person and online. New York welcomed its first retail sportsbook at Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady in 2019, and since then all 11 casinos have launched sportsbooks. Online sports betting subsequently went live at the start of 2022, and now New Yorkers have nine different online sites available where they can legally bet on sports.
Meanwhile, in neighboring New Jersey online casino gambling has been fully legalized and regulated for a number of years. New Yorkers can’t enjoy that luxury yet. However, New York players can create accounts at the NJ sites and then travel across the state line to New Jersey to log in and play slots and table games at NJ online casinos.
Based on the online casinos which have launched in New Jersey and our own expertise we expect Caesars, BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel and BetRivers to launch in NY should the necessary legislation come in.
There are also other choices in New York if you are an online casino player.
Free-to-play and real money casino games
If you are in New York, you have two choices when it comes to online casino games.
There are several legal play money casinos where you play games with credits. These social and sweepstakes casinos invite players to play a variety of casino games online using virtual currencies, and in some cases offer opportunities to redeem winnings for cash prizes.
Whereas real money online casinos employ a wide range of developers to provide well known slots and table games, these social and sweepstakes casinos usually have their own proprietary games that are unique to the sites. That said, the games rival their real money counterparts in terms of their animation, graphics, sound and other features that help create the same immersive experience provided by games in retail casino. The sites also feature a decent selection of games, with some offering hundreds of slots titles. If you want a quick online game of roulette or blackjack, you can usually find those as well.
Offline casinos vs. online casinos
New York state has a long tradition of tribal casinos and racinos (racetracks combined with casinos). Big casino resorts are a more recent phenomenon.
Those in NY can now play at major integrated resorts including Resorts World Catskills. These large, new casinos offer up to 6,000 slots machines for players, plus high-limit gambling and table games.
Advances in technology mean you can now play in New York against human croupiers or on electronic gaming terminals. Games including blackjack and roulette are available for real money via computerized touchscreens. They are quick, easy to play and you can withdraw your winnings instantly.
The most significant difference between land-based casinos and online casinos in New York concerns the stakes. It’s legal to gamble for real money in person at land-based sites through the state. However, regulated online casinos in the state only provide play money games at the moment.
Some of the big land-based sites in New York offer play money social casinos games online. It’s legal to register and log on to these casino websites and play games without risking any cash.
Empire City Casino offers an online casino where you can play a selection of slots for free. Del Lago casino, in Waterloo, also provides a social casino on the Play4Fun network. Here, you will find slots where you can win credits and even low-level cash prizes.
Popular casino games and live dealer casinos
Here are some typical games you will discover at a decent New York online casino.
Video slots are the most popular game found at NY online casinos. The best sites spread hundreds of slots with a range of themes and gameplay. You choose stakes at the start of the game, and big money progressive jackpot slots give you the chance to share a six-figure prize pool.
You can often enter a slot tournament online. Tournaments give you the chance to share a prize pool with your fellow gamblers. You get a limited number of spins on selected slots. Topping the leaderboard will bag the biggest share of the credits.
In a land-based casino in NY, you can typically find American roulette at a range of stakes. Online, you are likely to find both American roulette and European roulette. Most NY casinos offer electronic roulette terminals, too.
At real-money casinos, your stakes can start low. Online stakes are often much lower than at a land-based site. Once your bets are placed, the wheel spins. You are paid out according to the numbered pocket where the ball lands.
Blackjack is one of the most popular casino card games. In New York casinos, you will find at least a few interesting variants of blackjack. When playing blackjack online in New York, classic blackjack is most common, and the house edge can be low if you play optimally.
In blackjack, both you and the dealer are dealt two cards. The idea is to keep drawing cards and get as close to 21 without going over. If you beat the dealer, you win.
Baccarat and EZ Baccarat are standard options at most online casinos.
To win, you place bets on which hand (player or dealer) will be the highest. Picture cards and 10s count as zero. Whoever is closest to a total of nine, wins.
Video poker terminals are second only to slots in prevalence in New York land-based casinos. However, you will also often find video poker games at the best online casinos.
You are dealt five cards to play. You aim to hold or discard cards to form a winning five-card poker hand and you are paid out according to a set pay table. If you hit a royal flush and play at the maximum stake, you win the top jackpot available.
Most video poker games offer jackpots, and some let you use wild cards to form a five-card hand.
Live dealer casino
NJ online casinos offer live dealer games, and we expect New York to provide the same once the state regulates online gambling.
In a live dealer table game, you play online roulette or blackjack against a human croupier. However, you place bets via a touchscreen terminal and never on the table itself. You place online bets using your mouse or touchscreen. However, the roulette wheel and blackjack cards are real, and the croupiers are trained professionals.
Live dealer games even let you talk to the dealer using the on-screen chat. They provide an interesting experience for online casino game players that comes even closer to replicating in-person play than the other online casino games.
Casino promotions and bonuses
All good online casinos offer bonuses and promotions.
Real money sites tend to offer welcome bonuses among other promotions. A welcome bonus usually matches your first deposit at the casino. Social and sweepstakes casinos may offer free credits when you first register or when you make your first purchase.
Whether you are playing with real cash or purchasing credits, online casinos often offer 100% matching bonuses.
Real money casino welcome bonus:
- Open an account.
- Make your initial deposit in US dollars.
- The casino will 100% match your deposit.
- The casino will release your bonus cash once you meet the wagering requirements.
Some casino games count toward your bonus playthrough requirement. Slots generally contribute 100%, and table games and video poker may contribute up to 20%, depending on the site.
Free-to-play casino welcome bonus:
- Open an account.
- Make your first purchase of play credits.
- The casino will 100% match the purchase with an equivalent amount of credits.
- The casino will add bonus credits instantly after a successful purchase.
You may also be able to earn a bonus if a social casino is aligned with an existing land-based casino in New York state. By using your current casino’s loyalty card, you can earn extra play credits to use on free-to-play slots and table games online.
VIP promotions can vary widely between online casinos.
Reputable real money online casinos run multitiered loyalty programs where you can earn benefits the more you play. A VIP program may offer cash back on losses, faster cash-out times and access to a personal manager.
Social and sweepstakes casinos tend to weight their promotions toward credits. A great online social casino should offer a daily log-in bonus and add free-play credits to your account. As long as you play regularly, you can benefit.
Account registration and security
It is easy to sign up to a legit online casino.
If you live in New York state, download the app or client and create a unique username and password. Once you have set up an account, verify your identity by confirming your email address. Real money casinos may also ask for a scan of a valid NY or US driver’s license, plus a utility bill.
Once you have registered, you will receive play credits if the online casino is a social gaming site. If the casino is a real money site, you may also be eligible for a welcome bonus. As mentioned above, while in New York you are able to register for an account at a real money New Jersey online casino, and you can even deposit funds and perform other banking operations. However, you’ll need to be physically located in NJ in order actually to play the games.
Online casinos take security seriously. The best sites are protected by cutting-edge SSL (Secure Socket Layers) protection, which helps to safeguard your personal details. If you have real cash on the site, your transactions are also encrypted. The NJ online casinos also use geolocation technology to ensure those who play the games are indeed in the state.
Mobile casino games in New York state
Most play money sites in NY let you enjoy casino games on your smartphone or tablet.
Typically, you can download a dedicated app via Google Play for Android. The Apple App Store offers apps for iOS phones and iPads.
Alternatively, you can log on to a mobile casino directly through the website using your username and password. Visit the mobile casino website via your device and enter your log-in details on the homepage. Instant-play mobile casinos also work through a standard browser like Google Chrome or Safari. We recommend that you keep your mobile web browser current to avoid any connection issues.
The best mobile casinos offer a great selection of games for touchscreen. The functionality and gameplay differ slightly from standard desktop games. You may only see a portion of a table or slot games at one time. However, in terms of payouts and random number generators (RNGs), everything is the same whether you play on an app or via a web browser.
Winning money with social and sweepstakes sites
As noted above, there are social and sweepstakes casinos that invite players in New York state to play casino games online. These sites are legal to play and do not require you to make any purchases, although you can. Some also provide ways to redeem winnings for real cash prizes while not requiring you to make any purchases in order to win. The sites usually offer multiple ways to collect their virtual currencies with which to play the games, including via mail-in offers and Facebook contests.
Social and sweepstakes sites like Chumba Casino offer a variety of online slots and table games New Yorkers can play. Pulsz Casino, LuckyLand Slots and Funzpoints are others that also accept NY online slots and casino players.
We noted as well how some retail casinos in New York have online social casinos as well. You cannot win real money on those sites, but in some cases you can earn points toward the casinos’ loyalty programs.
Play some of the best casino games online
New York state is slowly opening up its online gaming and casino laws. With online sportsbooks up and running, chances are good lawmakers will be seriously considering the possibility of adding online casinos. While it’s not yet completely legal to play casino games for real money in NY, but if New Jersey continues to be successful with its expanded online gambling options, New York could follow suit.
Remember, New York casino gamblers can currently cross the border and log on to regulated NJ online casinos. They can also play online at social and sweepstakes casinos which continue to expand and offer an increasing selection of slots and table games.
Keep your eye out for the best NY casinos online and give them a try.
Online casino games and NY responsible gambling
When it comes to gambling, especially casino gaming, the top priority should be to do so responsibly. Don’t let it affect your personal and work life, stick to a budget, even seek help if you need it.
Along those lines, here are a few tips to practice responsible gambling in New York:
- Set a limit: This applies to several things. First, keep your bets to within your means. Don’t bet more than you can afford. Fortunately, NY online casinos can help out in this respect, as you can set daily, weekly and monthly limits to keep you within your budget. This also goes for how much time you spend betting. Do not let legal casino or sweepstakes interfere with your personal, social or work life.
- Walk away if you need to: If a NY casino game loses, leave it be. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Walk away. Bettors oftentimes “chase losses” in hopes of making up for money lost on a previous bet. Remember: There is no sure thing.
- Ask for help if you need it: Many feel embarrased or afraid to reach out for help when it feels like they have a gambling problem. But that’s why programs exist in New York. You can reach out to help lines and seek treatment. Someone is waiting and willing to help. All you have to do is simply ask.
For those looking to seek help, New York has plenty of resources that can help.
The New York Council on Problem Gambling, for example, features regional Problem Gambling Resource Centers and sponsors workshop and webinars to assist anyone seeking problem gambling help.
In addition, the New York State HOPEline is a 24/7 toll-free and confidential hotline can receive assistance, referrals and connections to a wide array of problem gambling resources.
The New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports oversees the HOPEline. Its website also features more detailed information on the prevention and treatment of problem gambling. So, too, does the New York State Gaming Commission.