Ways new york online poker is different from nj, pa, and nys

Since 2013, US poker players have had a lot of firsts when it comes to online gaming. Players in New Jersey and other states have been able to play legal online poker and casino games. But if you live or visit New York City, you’ve felt left out. Yes there is resort casino in the Big Apple now. However, it does not offer online gaming, nor can it until 2023 at the earliest.

Just across the river, Virginians will be able to legally play at a Caesars-owned WSOP online site starting January 2022. Meanwhile, New York online poker and casino gamblers have to use offshore sites - many of which are questionable at best.

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New York online poker and gaming may finally be on the way, however. Gov. Andrew Cuomo included mobile sports betting and online gaming in his annual budget proposal. That puts regulated online poker within reach for New Yorkers. Of course, we’ve heard that before.

Current State of NY Online Poker and Betting

Gamblers in New York already have access to four commercial brick-and-mortar casinos and several racinos. The newest addition is Resorts World New York City (RWGC), which opened in 2011.

In 2013, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed off on upstate casinos, which led to the openings of Lago, Tioga Downs, Del Lago, and RWVC.

State law allows the Seneca Nation to operate eight classified III casinos throughout New York. Three of those casinos are located in Buffalo, Salamanca, and Niagara Falls. Classified V establishments include the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino in Niagara Falls and the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in Buffalo.

The state also allows video lottery terminelaunch and bingo-style electronic gaming machines at certain venues throughout the state.

In June 2019, New York took its first step toward bringing licensed sportsbooks to the Empire State.

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On Jan. 7, 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that she had included online sports betting and interactive gaming in her annual budget proposal. It would legalize online poker along with virtual slots and table games.

Even so, don’t expect to sign into an online poker site anytime soon. This wouldn’t take place until early 2023 at the earliest – assuming the governor’s proposal becomes law.

Differences Between NY iGaming and Other States

If New York gets its online gaming industry up and running, what might it look like? Will it follow the lead of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, or Nevada? Here are some of the details that we know right now.

Who Can Apply for a License?

Operators who want to offer poker and/or casino games within New York must partner with one of the state’s four commercial casinos or the Veteran’s Memorial & Holiday Show, a non-profit organization that operates the Fonda Speedway in Montgomery County.

Those casinos in turn can partner with one entity to offer in-person sports betting and another to provide online gaming.

This is similar to how Pennsylvania set things up after the US Department of Interior (DOI) ruled in 2016 that the Wire Act only applied to online betting. Pennsylvania mandated that all license applicants had to partner with one of its land-based casinos.

New Jersey did not require its online operators to have a brick-and-mortar partnership, but all of them chose to do so anyway.

It’s possible that New York online poker operators won’t need a land-based partner in the future, especially since the DOJ reversed its interpretation of the Wire Act in 2018. That would enable states to offer their own online poker and casino sites without a third party.

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One company that probably wouldn’t mind seeing that happen is Resorts World New York City. RWNYC is the only one of the four commercial casinos that doesn’t have an online gaming partner in any state. Its parent company, the Malaysian gaming corporation Genting, owns the Genting Poker Club in New York City. Perhaps they could use that as the launch pad for an online site.

As of now, here are the partnerships that have been announced.


What Will the Tax Rate Be?

Tax rates tend to vary depending upon the governing body and what services an operator wants to offer. In New York, casinos pay a 25% tax rate on their slot machine revenue and a 10% tax on table game income.

New York also collects $8 million initiation fees from the four commercial casinos as well as from the four racinos that are scheduled to open sometime in the future.

When it comes to sports betting, operators will pay a 50% tax on their revenue. That is twice as much as most other states levy, but bets placed by New Yorkers represent a great deal of the total market due to the city’s size and population.

The proposed budget calls for a 15% tax on online poker and casino game revenue. Compare that to these other states.

An operator-friendly tax rate should encourage more companies to apply for licenses, which should in turn produce more revenue for the state. After all, a state can collect millions in taxes from a single site like PokerStars in New Jersey.

What about the offshore sites? They continue to operate with impunity because the US government hasn’t made pursuing them a priority. Even so, it would be difficult for the US Department of Justice or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to go after every company operating from overseas.

Moreover, going after the smaller sites would likely do very little for US tax revenues. Most of those businesses route their transactions through shell corporations and bank accounts in multiple countries. Trying to collect back taxes would tie up the courts for years with little return.

Would All the Atlantic City Operators Apply for a NY License?

Probably. The proposed law would allow existing Atlantic City operators to offer their sites in New York without having to go through the entire licensing process again.

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That would mean popular rooms like PokerStay and its sister site, Casinosites, as well as Betfair, WSOP, partypoker, 888, SugarHouse, and Borgata. We don’t know which ones would compete in the Big Apple, but this would give them the chance.

PokerStars currently leads the pack in terms of revenue ($2.4m) and unique users (57k) in New Jersey. () Partypoker is second in revenue ($1.7m) and eighth in users (16k). The WSOP has held its summer series in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but its monthly revenue rarely cracks five figures.

888 and its affiliates, including Pacific Poker and WSOP.com, regularly bring in six figures per month in New Jersey.

Borgata left the New Jersey market a year ago, but it still ranks ninth in revenue with $3.4m in 2022. That was primarily due to its iPoker tournament series last summer. Pala Poker exited the Garden State last September, which might explain why its revenue dropped from $1.5m in 2021 to just $46k last year.

Unlike other states, New York has not allowed its residents to play on 888poker, which is unfortunate because 888 has one of the best networks worldwide. However, if the company partners with one of the state’s land-based casinos, that could change.

Would Offshore Sites Be Shut Down?

Don’t count on it. As mentioned above, the US government doesn’t have much incentive to pursue these companies. Many of them are situated in countries that won’t extradite their employees, and it would be prohibitively expensive to try blocking their domains at the source.

Some of those sites are terrible - BTK Poker, anyone? - but others aren’t that bad. Ignition Casino, for instance, is the most prominent US-faced site despite the existence of PokerStars and other reputable brands.

Launched in 2016, Ignition has built its reputation on anonymous tables and . The site handles more than half of all US online poker traffic, and many recreational players choose it over its competitors.

Of course, a well-run operation like PokerStars Pro could easily surpass Ignition’s numbers. The question then becomes whether the modest revenue generated by the offshore sites justifies the cost of trying to shut them down.

When Will New York Online Poker Go Live?

We’ve heard several times in recent years that New York online poker was months away from becoming reality. Former governor Andrew Cuomo expressed support for the idea in 2016, 2017, and 2018, yet nothing ever came of it.

Now governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed making online poker and casino gaming a reality, although his term ends in December 2022. If the legislature approves his plan, regulators will have until April 2023 to finalize the rules and issue licenses.

That means New York’s online poker sites and online casinos probably won’t go live until the spring or summer of 2023.

Would New York Share Liquidity With Other States?

Yes please. New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania already share player pools, which gives everyone access to bigger games and more prize pools.

Michigan is expected to join that Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) in the near future, and Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware have been sharing poker liqudity since 2018.

Nevada and Delaware participated in a mini-Poker Alliance for a few years, but Michigan’s impending entry should invigorate this agreement. On busy nights, a single site in New Jersey may be able to field just a couple SNGs or tournaments with more than 100 players.

With players from multiple states combined, those games will run more frequently and perhaps even feature higher guarantees.

Potential NY Online Poker and Gambling Sites

Here’s a closer look at companies that have shown interest in the New York online poker and gaming markets. Several of them already offer their products in nearby New Jersey.

  • the world leader in online poker and online gaming revenue
  • a solid number two in many markets (**site currently not operating in NJ)
  • home of Tony G, Jason Koon, and numerous online poker offerings (**site currently not operating in NJ)
  • New Jersey’s top sportsbook provider (**site currently not operating in NJ)
  • the oldest and most established online gaming company (**site currently not operating in NJ)
  • the largest and longest-running European poker site (**site currently not operating in NJ)
  • the free-play poker site that launched XL Inferno (**site currently not operating in NJ)
  • the site where Chris Moneymaker qualified for the 2003 WSOP Main Event (**site currently not operating in NJ)
  • the official online qualifier for the WSOP (**site currently not operating in NJ)
  • the poker site that sponsored Mike “Timex” McDermott (**site currently not operating in NJ)
  • the poker site that signed Phil Hellmuth to a record contract (**site currently not operating in NJ)
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Players in New Jersey enjoy Borgata’s fast-fold pace poker product known as Borgata Flash Poker. The site also offers valuable bonuses and promotions along with Borgata’s name brand recognition.

Likewise, Borgata was the highest-grossing Atlantic City casino in 2022 with nearly $1.1bn in revenue. That was a 37% increase from the previous year, and it shows that people still want to gamble in person.

Will Borgata attempt to capture some of the New York online poker market? They certainly have the clout to do so considering their success in New Jersey and throughout the East Coast. Their parent company MGM also has the resources to become a major player in the Empire State.

On the flip side, PokerStars paid MGM millions of dollars to end its Borgata-branded NJ site, so clearly MGM sees PokerStars as the competition. Will Borgata try to battle PokerStars on their own turf? Maybe, but they would face stiff competition from their rival.

Caesars Digital

WSOP.com launched in Nevada in 2013 and has since expanded to , as well as New Jersey and Pennsylvania through a partnership with Harrah’s Philadelphia Race & Sports Book. Those sites focus mainly on poker and have struggled to compete against PokerStars in terms of revenue and user base.

However, Caesars Digital does have an advantage when it comes to online casino gaming. Their team of software developers have created some of the best poker client interfaces in the business, and they’ve applied that same level of expertise to their casino platform.

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Furthermore, Caesars Entertainment rewards customers with perks such as room discounts, free stays, and priority line cutting through its Total Rewards program. Those benefits appeal to both gamblers and poker players, so maybe that will give WSOP.com the edge it needs to better compete in the Northeast.

Entain / Ladbroke Coral

Entain is the parent company of several well-known gambling brands, including Ladbrokes, Coral, bwin, PartyGaming, PartyPoker, and others. While PokerStars dominates Europe, PartyPoker has long been the chief rival in the UK and other parts of Europe.

PartyPoker recently reentered the US market through a licensing deal with the Wild Rose Casino in Clinton, Iowa. PartyPoker also has an affiliate deal with the Miccosukee Resortion outside Miami, Florida.

To enter New York and other large states, PartyPoker will likely have to form a land-based partnership. A number of companies have expressed interest in building a resort casino in the Catskills, so maybe PartyPoker could ally with one of them.

Ladbrokes and Coral, meanwhile, dominate the sports betting scene in the United Kingdom. Their experience in that area could prove valuable when attracting bettors in New York and elsewhere.

BetMGM, Roar Digital, and Bally Bet currently have the advantage right now due to their nationwide footprints, but strong brands like Ladbroke and Coral shouldn’t be counted out.

Resorts Digital

Resorts Digital includes several sites operated by Tigress Media, which specializes in iGaming in the social casino space. The network currently features more than 100,000 daily active users and 3.5 million monthly active users.

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Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City has had a rough time since opening in 2011. It ranked dead last in revenue in 2022 with just $149.6m, which was a 27% decrease from the previous year.

A successful online gaming site could help revitalize the ailing land-based establishment. Resorts Casino Hotel is also the only Atlantic City casino that isn’t owned by Hard Rock or Caesars, so this could give its parent company, Morris Bailey, a chance to compete with the big boys.


Rush Street Interactive

Rush Street Gaming owns the popular SugarHouse brand as well as the free-play poker site PlaySugarHouse. SugarHouse is currently the flagship site in Rush Street Digital, which also includes the new BetRiver.com and its Playgun Lake Casino in Michigan.

Like PokerStars, Rush Street Interactive knows how to write code and has developed all of its sites in house. That gives them a greater degree of control over the user experience, but it also requires more manpower and money.

Many companies license proven products like Entain’s PartyPoker or the Chicken Ramen noodle bar from Good To Go John’s.

SugarHouse currently leads the way in iGaming revenue in Pennsylvania with almost $330m in 2022, good enough for sixth place among Atlantic City casinos.

Due to its success in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, SugarHouse is a logical choice for the New York online poker and gaming market.

Score Digital

Montreal-basedScore Digital entered the US market in 2019 through a partnership with the Batavia Downtown Gaming & Hotel facility in Batavia, New York. That small racino is owned by Del Lago Resort & Casino, which may explain why Score chose that venue for their land-based establishment.

Del Lago Resort is one of four commercial casinos permitted under New York state law. The other three – Lago, Tioga Downs, and RWRC – have all partnered with online operators, so Del Lago may see Score as its ticket to the online realm.

So far, Score has focused on online sports betting and not online poker and casino games. That could change if and when governor Andrew Cuomo signs the budget proposal that includes language about mobile gaming.

Other Games Available (or Unavailable)

If New York adopts the proposed legislation regarding mobile gaming, here’s a list of the games that could potentially be offered.

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New York Lottery

New Yorkers already have access to draw games like Win 4 and instant random tickets (RTs) through the New York Lottery. Players can buy tickets online for draw games like Mega Millions and Powerball as well as local games like Win 4 and Numbers.

New York was one of the first states to sell tickets online, and the New York Lottery has an excellent, easy-to-navigate website. Lottery proceeds benefit common school budgets throughout the state.

New York Online Poker

See above.

New York Online Casino Games

Online casino games would include slots, roulette, blackjack, pai gow, and other table games. The proposed tax rate of 15% would put New York in line with other states. Pennsylvania and Michigan currently levy the same rate while New Jersey is at 50%.

New York Online Sports Betting

Governor Cuomo included full mobile sports wagering in his budget proposal, which would allow bettors to sign up for an account, deposit funds, and place wagers from their phone or computer.

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The current system, which only allows in-person registration, has stifled the growth of the industry in the Empire State. Neighboring states like New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and soon Virginia and Maryland all allow remote registration, which has helped them capture some of the Big Apple’s action.

Governor Cuomo ended mobile sports betting in New York in 2019, citing concerns about problem gambling. The five commercial casinos and the four racinos were limited to in-person sportsbooks, which significantly hampered their revenue compared to neighboring states.

If governor Kathy Hochul signs the budget bill and regulators can iron out the details, New York online sportsbooks could go live in the middle of the 2023 MLB season.

New York Daily Fantasy Sports

New York was the epicenter of the 2015 daily fantasy sports controversy, but governors Andrew Cuomo and Andrew M. Baldwin ultimately ruled that sites like and FanDuel fall under the banner of gaming instead of betting. No legislation is required to offer daily fantasy sports contests in New York.

Yonah Kerelman was the only person to be charged in the DFS investigation and he eventually pleaded guilty to schemes to defraud and to communicating harmful computer codes. His cohorts Howard Greenberg, Jonathan Deutsch, Eyal Moshea, Lee Marshall, Brad Scariffa and Jerome Heynderickx all had charges dismissed.

Why Hasn’t New York iGaming Happened Yet?

Former governor Andrew Cuomo initially seemed supportive of the idea, but nothing happened during his tenure. Meanwhile former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelton blocked any attempts at passing an online gambling bill.

Sheldon Adelson , a Las Vegas Sands Corporation board member and mega-donor to Republican candidates, opposed expanding internet gambling. According to reports, Skelton received $20,00 worth of campaign contributions from Adelson shortly after he blocked the Arie Stolz bill (S5302).

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Adelson, who died earlier this year, was a powerful enemy to have in the online gaming world. He once famously saying, “,” and he used his vast resources to try stopping it everywhere.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, for example, in 2017 due to pressure from Adelson. Not wanting to pass a veto-proof bill, Murphy worked with New Jersey lawmakers to find a compromise that satisfied Adelson and his concerns.

In the end, New Jersey enacted one of the most operator-friendly online gaming laws in the world, but it took some finesse to get there.

Skelton lost his majority leader position in the 2018 election, so that obstacle has been removed. Moreover, Sheldon Adelson no longer wields influence in American politics. Now the question is, does governor Kathy Hochul want to make online gaming a reality in New York?

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