Despite being home to Las Vegas – the global hub of gambling – the United States of America has a complicated relationship with gambling. Laws surrounding the practice differ on a state-by-state basis and here in Long Island, the laws have been subject to change throughout the last decade.
Traditionally gambling in New York State was strictly limited to casino venues which could only be opened in Indian reservations. Horse racing, some forms of lotteries and a few other negligible gambling games were allowed.
But, in 2013 voters approved an amendment to the New York gambling laws which would allow Vegas-style casinos to be built in the state. Despite that amendment, online casinos, sports betting sites and online poker still remain illegal.
In this article, we will look at the gambling options for Long Island residents and speculate as to whether the state could benefit from following the lead of a European country.
Where to gamble in New York State?
A look behind the curtain at New York’s largest gambling venue, Resorts World Casino.
- Resorts World Casino (RWC)
RWC is by far the largest and most impressive casino within a short commute of Long Island. The casino is operated by the Genting group, one of the biggest names in the global casino business with dozens of resorts around the globe.
RWC is home to three distinct casinos, Times Square Casino, Fifth Avenue Casino and Central Park Casino. Across the three there are over 6,000 slot machines and hundreds upon hundreds of table games. If you’re in to high stakes games ask a member of staff about the venues several high-limit rooms which often play host to private, high stakes games.
- Empire City Casino
If you’re opening a casino in New York City – or two miles from the city in Yonkers – it is the law that you have to name it after one of the Big Apple’s most famous landmarks…okay maybe not, but it seems to be the route that a lot of casino developers have gone down, including the Rooney family who owned this 97-acre property from 1972 to 2019.
Last year the casino was bought by MGM Resorts, the casino owning supergroup with interests in Las Vegas and Macao. The 150,000 square foot venue is home to over 4,700 slot machines and electronic table games.
For refreshments, guests can enjoy The Pub, an on-site sports pub as well as three extremely tasty restaurants including Nonno’s Trattoria. With funding from MGM filtering through on almost a monthly basis, keep your eyes peeled for more improvements at Empire City Casino.
Highlights from 2019s epic Belmont Stakes race.
As mentioned in the introduction of the article, horse racing is legal in New York State and it is an activity enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of punters. The Belmont Triple Crown Championship is an annual race that attracts fans from all over the globe and is an event that deserves a place in your calendar.
Away from that championship, races are held throughout the spring and summer months. These events are made even more enjoyable by the availability of in-depth stats on horses, riders and trainers available to visitors.
Whether you’re an experienced horse better or a complete novice, Belmont Park is the ideal place to visit.
Using your phone
All forms of online gambling are illegal in NYC, other than Fantasy Football.
Want to whip your phone out of your pocket in Long Island and win some cash at an online poker table? No can do buddy. Fancy spinning the roulette wheel? Think again. How about backing the Yankees? Absolutely not, although if you do fancy wagering some money on fantasy football, fill your boots.
Welcome to the crazy world of online gambling legislation in New York State. All forms of online gambling apart from fantasy sports are strictly prohibited, in a state with more than a few super casinos.
New York State’s prohibition on online gambling doesn’t make much sense, but fortunately it might be about to change its stance in the near future.
Legalising online gambling
There is a tide of change in the USA at the moment where online gambling is concerned. In recent times the legislation surrounding online sports betting has been decentralized, leaving individual states to decide for themselves whether or not to legalize the act.
Movements to legalise online sports betting in some states have led to further legalisation for online casinos. Although it is unclear what New York State will decide to do with both sports betting and online casinos.
Should online gambling be legalised?
The argument for legalising online gambling lies in Northern Europe, just north of France and slightly east of Ireland.
The United Kingdom is perhaps the most successful online gambling nation on the planet, with annual revenues of over £5 billion from the remote sector. It is for that, and a number of other reasons that the country is often held up as an example for other countries to follow. There are many hugely popular and reputable gambling sites, featuring a range of engaging casino games with lucrative prizes to be won. A good example to get a feel for the the industry and try your luck at is the one-of-a-kind Las Vegas inspired retro style site 777 online casino.
One of the reasons the gambling industry is doing so well in the UK is because the government is very involved in the day-to-day running of online gambling companies, thanks to heavy regulation. Every gambling company in the country is not only obliged to pay a percentage of their profits to gambling charities, but they are also required to take the necessary precautions to detect and help problem gamblers.
Scientific studies have labelled British gamblers as ‘mature’, meaning they are less likely to encounter problems with gambling. The government’s action on regulating the online industry has been seen as key to this.
If the New York State is to go down the route of legalising online gambling, sports betting and poker, administrators could do far worse than copying the approach of the British gambling industry.