New York’s online gambling industry is growing, though it still needs a little work. Online sports betting may be up and running, but real money online casinos are still flatly illegal. That’s also true for real money online blackjack.
Indeed, New York blackjack fans can’t play real money blackjack online… for now. Recent legislative developments indicate that legal online casinos could be on the horizon for the Empire State. But in the meantime, let’s break down the state of the online blackjack industry in New York as it stands. We’ll also go over online blackjack alternatives if you want to play a few hands from the comfort of your couch.
Where To Play Real Money Blackjack Online In New York
At the time of this writing, you cannot play real money blackjack online in New York. That’s because online casino games, including blackjack and other table games, are still illegal. Instead, New York has several brick-and-mortar or retail casinos to visit. At those locations, you can enjoy live real money blackjack instead.
There have been some legislative development recently in terms of online casino legalization. State Sen. Joseph Addabbo, who has pushed for gambling expansion throughout the Empire State for several years, filed SB 8412 in September of 2022. This bill, if passed, could add online casinos to the current gambling industry in the Empire State.
Other legislation has followed a similar trend. However, these legislative pushes are still being discussed or have not yet been voted on. For now, it seems as though real money blackjack online won’t be a possibility until 2023 at the earliest. In the meantime, New York residents can enjoy in-person casino games like blackjack or online sports betting.
How To Play Sweepstakes Blackjack Online In New York
New Yorkers can still play blackjack online but just not for real money. Instead, they can visit sweepstakes online casinos. These casinos follow a sweepstakes currency model, meaning that real money is never wagered under any circumstances. This circumvents anti-gambling legislation that prohibits online casino games like blackjack.
What is Sweepstakes Gaming?
In a nutshell, sweepstakes gaming means playing for valueless digital currency. For most sweepstakes sites, this currency is called “gold coins”. Players can spend the gold coins to enter blackjack games or to participate in other casino activities like slot games.
When a player wins, they receive money in the form of gold coins rather than real-world cash. Thus, New Yorkers can still enjoy sweepstakes online blackjack games. They just won’t win any real money directly from these activities.
How Can You Win Cash Prizes from Sweepstakes Blackjack?
In some cases, it’s possible to win cash prizes from sweepstakes blackjack games or sweepstakes casino activities. Sweeps coins are special digital currencies that you receive for participating in certain tournaments or from making purchases of gold coin packages. For example, you might receive five sweeps coins for purchasing 100 gold coins, but it all depends on the sweepstakes casino.
Once players accumulate enough sweeps coins, they can exchange these for cash prizes at a sweepstakes casino’s checkout or store page. In this way, you can sometimes receive real money via participation in online sweepstakes activities. But you can never win cash directly, nor can you bet cash on blackjack hands at all. Unlike traditional online casinos, sweepstakes casinos are legal in New York and in most other US states. So if you really love the engagement and fun of online blackjack, sweepstakes casinos are the sites for you!
Example Sweepstakes Casino Sites
There are plenty of top sweepstakes casino sites and mobile apps available right now. You can download these in New York and play them on your mobile device or on your desktop. Most apps are available on both iOS and Android devices.
Some of the best sweepstakes casino sites with blackjack include:
- Chumba Casino
- BetRiver.net aka Play4Fun
However, note that most online sweepstakes casinos offer slots games as their main forms of entertainment. Only some sweepstakes casino sites offer blackjack games, let alone online tournaments.
Playing Blackjack At Live Casinos In New York
In New York, there are plenty of brick-and-mortar casinos to visit to enjoy blackjack games. These include both commercial casinos, which offer blackjack, poker, and other casino activities, and tribal casinos. The tribal casinos are split between three tribes that operate legal gambling properties in New York, including the Seneca Nation of Indians, Oneida Indian Nation of New York, and the St. Regis Mohawks.
Some of the best commercial casinos with blackjack to check out include:
- Tioga Downs and Casino
2384 W River Rd., Nichols, NY 13812
- Resorts World Catskills
888 Resorts World Dr., Monticello, NY 12701
- Jake’s 58 Hotel and Casino
3635 Express Dr. N, Islandia, NY 11749
- Del Lago Resort and Casino
1133 NY-414, Waterloo, NY 13165
- Rivers Casino and Resort 1 Rush St
1 Rush St., Schenectady, NY 12305
However, you can also find live blackjack activities at several “racinos”. These racinos are blended properties that include casino activities and horseracing venues. Here, you can enjoy not only live blackjack but also put your money down on horse races. Some of the most popular racinos with occasional or frequent blackjack games include:
- Empire City Casino
810 Yonkers Ave, Yonkers, NY 10704
- Saratoga Casino and Raceway
342 Jefferson St, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
- Vernon Downs and Casino
4229 Stuhlman Rd, Vernon, NY 13476
- Monticello Gaming and Raceway
204 NY-17B, Monticello, NY 12701
- Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack
5857 NY 96, Farmington, NY 14425
When you play blackjack at live casinos, you can put real money down on the outcome. At some casinos, you can even find blackjack tournaments. These may come with extra prize pools or purses. If you win a blackjack tournament by being the last player standing, you may win more than what you wager by a significant margin.
How To Play Blackjack Online For Free In New York
When you sign up for a sweepstakes casino site or find other free blackjack platforms, you can play this popular table game in a variety of ways. The best way to get started is to find a regulated, trustworthy online sweepstakes casino site. Visit the website or download the mobile app for that casino app/platform. Next, click on the “games” section and navigate to the blackjack or table games section depending on the layout. Some online casinos include search bars, in which you can type “blackjack” to find available blackjack activities.
Once you find a digital blackjack table to join, simply click on the thumbnail or icon and choose either free play or demo. If you gamble in New York, you likely won’t have any other options since, again, playing blackjack for real money online is still illegal.
The online casino may ask you to confirm your age. Alternatively, if you have to make an account to participate, the casino will know your age already. To participate in sweepstakes casino sites and enjoy online blackjack, you usually have to be 18 or 19 or older. You do not normally have to be 21 or older, as is the case with other traditional gaming activities.
Your online casino will typically give you some fake money or digital currency to use. These include the gold coins used on sweepstakes blackjack platforms. Then you can choose your bet size and click “deal” to begin your online blackjack game. Take note that not every online casino offers free or demo mode blackjack games. Some may require you to make an account or make a purchase of gold coins to participate in a sweepstakes system.
Types Of Blackjack Online
There are lots of different online blackjack games you can enjoy, whether on sweepstakes sites or at other platforms if you venture outside New York. These blackjack types include but are not limited to:
- Single hand blackjack. This blackjack variety is only played with one hand. It’s the most popular form of blackjack because it has a low house edge of 0.15%. It’s also simple to enjoy and quick to finish, so you can enjoy lots of blackjack games in rapid succession.
- Multi-hand blackjack. It lets you play several hands against the dealer (whether real or simulated). Multi-hand blackjack is a faster-paced game, however, it’s oftentimes better for more experienced blackjack enthusiasts.
- Spanish 21. With this blackjack, all but 10 cards are removed. It also offers larger payouts and more benefits to players. For instance, a player who makes 21 wins the current blackjack round automatically, even if the dealer ties.
- Blackjack Pro. This is similar to standard blackjack but has a few differences, such as using only one deck shuffle after each round. The dealer, furthermore, always hits when they draw a soft 17.
- Infinite Blackjack. It’s played with eight decks. An infinite number of players can join in on the fun.
Remember, each sweepstake or online casino will have different blackjack varieties available. Be sure to investigate what each casino offers before buying a bunch of gold coins or participating in a demo tournament.
Blackjack Rules In New York
The rules for online blackjack in New York are pretty similar to the rules found everywhere else. For online blackjack on sweepstakes casinos, the dealer is usually a simulation or collection of algorithms. You don’t normally get to enjoy a live dealer experience with sweepstakes blackjack. This may change in the future if New York legalizes online casinos in general.
The basic New York blackjack rules are as follows:
- The object of the game is to get a card count as close to 21 as possible without going over. Players compete against the dealer, who also tries to get as close to 21
- Each card has a value ranging from 1 to 11. Face cards have values of 10
- Each player places a bet before the beginning of a blackjack round
- The dealer then shuffles a card pack until they are mixed and combined thoroughly
- The dealer gives every player a single card face up in a clockwise rotation, then draws a card for themselves
- Players get a second card face up, but the dealer’s second card is kept facedown
- The players then decide whether they wish to be “hit” and draw another card to get closer to 21 or to “stand”
- If, at the end of the round, all the players go above 21, they’re eliminated
- The player or dealer with the card value closest to 21 or at 21 wins the round
Although this is the most basic version of blackjack, the rules can be a little different depending on the exact version of blackjack being played.
How To Play Live Dealer Blackjack Online In New York
Unfortunately, New Yorkers can’t play live dealer blackjack online at this time. Remember, real money blackjack online is completely illegal. Players can only enjoy online blackjack in the sweepstakes format. Sweepstakes casinos don’t normally use live dealers for their card games, especially since most of them primarily offer slot games.
However, if and when online casinos are legalized in New York, live dealer games may become more popular. With live dealer games, players can participate in online blackjack. But instead of the cards being dealt by an algorithm, they are dealt by a live dealer. The live dealer works at a casino partnered with the online casino app/platform. They are live-streamed to the mobile devices of blackjack players simultaneously as the game unfolds.
If live online blackjack comes to New York, players will be able to access these games by locating the “live table game” sections of their favorite apps. Most apps will have these sections clearly outlined for easy navigation.
Blackjack Bonuses In New York
Some online casino sweepstakes sites reward you with bonuses for participating in certain tournaments, creating an account, or taking advantage of other promos. These bonuses include free gold coins, free sweeps coins, or other digital credits. They essentially give you extra playing currency. Most come with some play-through restrictions, however, and may require you to play through any coins once or twice before you can redeem them for cash prizes.
Playing Legal Blackjack Online In New York
At this time, the best way to enjoy legal blackjack online is to only play sweepstakes blackjack. Do not use offshore or illegal casino sites that offer real money blackjack games and tournaments. Why? Simply put, such illegal casino sites don’t have great digital security. Your funds or personal information could be placed at great risk. On top of that, many illegal casino sites don’t have great blackjack or table game offerings in the first place.
Plus, once you deposit money, there’s nothing stopping these sites from stealing your money and running for the hills. Stick with legal online sweepstakes casinos until online real money blackjack is legalized in New York.
How To Play At The Best Online Blackjack Casinos In New York
Not sure how to enjoy online blackjack casinos to their maximum extent? Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Play on a Desktop or Mobile Device
First, find a great sweepstakes online casino site and play on a desktop or mobile device. These online casino sites are designed for easy operation and navigation, so kick back, relax, and play blackjack on the most convenient screen you have access to.
How to Deposit Funds
Make sure you know how to deposit funds or purchase gold coin packages. Most sweepstakes casino sites allow you to purchase gold coin packages and bundles for amounts like $4.99, $9.99, and so on. You can usually make purchases of these packages with credit and debit cards.
What Kind of Payout Can You Expect?
Sweeps coins redemptions can net you some cash from time to time, but don’t expect to get big payouts as you see at live, in-person blackjack games. In general, you should enjoy sweepstakes blackjack casinos for the fun of the game itself, not to make a ton of money.
Real Money Blackjack In New York FAQs
Not for real money. Instead, only online sweepstakes blackjack is legal in New York at this time. Online real money blackjack is still illegal, although this could change in 2022 or 2023.
That depends on the app you download. Most sweepstakes casino apps require you to be 18 or 19 years old to play blackjack online or to enjoy their other gaming activities.
No. Online casinos in New York exclusively offer sweepstakes games and no live dealer games.
You can start playing online blackjack by registering for a sweepstakes casino account. You’ll need to provide your name, address, date of birth, and sometimes your Social Security number to prove your identity.
The odds for online real money blackjack work the same as the odds for live, in-person blackjack games. Players have to calculate the likelihood of them drawing a card that brings their hand close to 21 vs. the odds of the dealer drawing a card that takes them over 21.
Not in New York. However, some neighboring states like New Jersey do allow online casino games and online blackjack games that involve real money.
Only if they follow the sweepstakes format. These online casino sites don’t let you wager real money, nor do they let you win real money. However, you can occasionally redeem sweeps coins or similar valueless currencies for cash prizes.