Throughout the long and storied history of New York State, there has been very little available in the way of casinos and legal gambling. Today, the state does offer a few gambling options, though most of the casinos that are closest to New York City are merely “Racinos” which do not offer table games in the traditional sense. Many residents of New York prefer traveling to nearby destinations like Atlantic City to gamble because of this. There are however, a few stand-alone casino resorts within the state that are run by Native American tribes. These “Indian Casinos” offer full-fledged gaming, though in the case of New York, they are generally located upstate several hours from NYC.
As we briefly touched on above, many casinos within New York started out as horse racing tracks. This means a large majority of casinos here are considered “Racinos.” These types of casinos do not offer the traditional games that are available in other popular states such as New Jersey or Nevada. While some Racinos do offer “table games” they are electronic and completely automated.
In addition to the automated table games, many of the “slot machines” at New York Racinos are actually video lottery terminals, which utilize a system similar to the lottery but look like traditional slot machines. This is the most common type of casino that you’re likely to find in New York. Many of them also offer horse betting and live horse races, but do not allow sports betting. Even though the machines in Racinos use a different system than other casinos, they still have many of the most popular slot machines like Wheel of Fortune and the likes.
One of the newest, most popular and controversial casinos in New York is the Resorts World Casino which is conveniently located at the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens (by JFK Airport). It opened its doors in 2011, and has quickly become a popular destination for home-state residents as well as many people traveling through the JFK International Airport. They have even built a train which runs direct from the airport to the casino, and it is currently the only casino and racetrack within the New York City Limits.
In upstate New York, far from the city, is where you will find a handful of Native American casinos which offer more gaming options than their Racino counterparts. Most all Native American casinos in New York will generally offer resorts and hotel rooms in addition to gaming. These types of casinos offer many resort-style amenities including pools and spas in addition to top-notch restaurants and entertainment. This is different from Racinos which generally do not offer any resort or hotel options. New York’s Indian Casinos will also offer table games like blackjack with live dealers vs. the electronic variations you’ll find at Racinos.
New York State has had just a handful of casinos for most of its history, mainly in Native American areas located upstate. It wasn’t until 2013 when an amendment was passed to expand legal gambling in the state. The new amendment calls for just 4 new gaming licenses to be given out, mainly in upstate New York locations near the Catskill mountains and Albany.
The passing of the amendment was in part due to the effects the recession had on the state. The amendment, which received 57% voter approval, will allow for the slow expansion of legalized casinos. This will in turn generate much needed jobs for local residents. A large majority of all casino revenues are also distributed to help schools and educational programs within the state.
For many years, New York has been missing out on the massive amounts of revenue generated by gambling in nearby states such as New Jersey which is just a short drive from NYC. It seems that the idea of opening more casinos in the state is catching on fast and gaining some momentum. It will definitely be interesting to see what happens over the next several years, and there have already been many talks regarding turning some of the state’s Racinos into full fledged casinos that offer more variety in the way of table games.
– In New York, you must be 18 years of age to gamble at casinos. This is currently the topic of debate, as several lawmakers are looking to raise the age to 21.
– In New York, you must be 21 to drink or buy alcohol at casinos.
– Though drinks (alcoholic or otherwise) at most casinos are usually free, tipping the waiter or waitress is a common courtesy.
– Smoking is permitted in some casinos, though it is not permitted in all. It is important to be wary of all marked non-smoking areas, and to know the rules before entering.