Despite being known as the city that never sleeps, there has always been one high stakes hobby that New York has traditionally lacked – and that’s casinos and gambling. Like many states, New York began with strict laws that have made the overall rise of gambling and casinos a fascinating journey to watch.

NYC” (CC BY 2.0) by Julien Menichini

Back in the 19th century, illegal casinos flourished under prohibition laws. One of the most exclusive and decadent of these casinos was The House With the Bronze Door. Established in 1891, the casino served some of NYC’s most elite gamblers who wanted a more reputable establishment within which to engage in their vices. Found at 33 West Thirty-third street, the casino was only a stone’s throw away from Fifth Avenue. The house’s defining feature, its bronze door, was an indicator of the luxury that lay within. A 15th Century Italian Renaissance piece, it was worth around $20,000. This exclusive establishment was run by Frank Farrell. Farrell used the profits to continue to establish a network of over 200 gambling houses all over the city of NYC. However, today Farrell is mainly remembered for his purchase of the Baltimore Orioles, a team he bought and moved to New York. Under his watch, they were named The New York Highlanders and today they’re better known as the New York Yankees!

Over time, these gambling houses went into decline as laws began to change to accommodate legal gambling ventures. The first legal gambling venture in New York State was horse racing, with laws later expanding to accommodate off-track betting. Since this first legalization, laws have continued to develop, with bingo being legalized in 1957, followed by the legalization of the lottery in 1966. However, the first big shift for casino and poker fans came in 2001 when it became legal to build casinos on tribal lands, leading to a number of casinos on Native America reservations. But arguably the biggest change came in 2013 when New Yorkers voted to amend the law, allowing commercial casinos to be built in the state. Since this vote, Atlantic City and Las Vegas no longer have the monopolies on being the city of sin as it has only gotten easier and easier to enjoy casinos in NYC. But, not only are there more casinos appearing in NYC, there are a whole host of modern conveniences that have made the casinos significantly more accessible. Online casino companies like LeoVegas and Casumo replicate the gambling experience, meaning you don’t even have to leave home to enjoy the casino, while similar innovations like being able to use PayPal as a deposit option have also cropped up online.


New York City” (CC BY 2.0) by Zeeyolq Photography

Today, when it comes to gambling, NYC is home to a number of hidden gems such as Resorts World Casino NYC or Big Deal Casino, which actually has an Academy, making it the first licensed dealer school in the entirety of New York State. There’s even an NYC Poker Tour you can go on! It’s clear that it’s easier than ever before to enjoy some high stakes and legal games in NYC, provided you are 21 of course!

Do you have a favourite NYC gambling establishment? Let us know below in the comments.

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The New York World

The New York World is the lifestyle magazine about anything and everything related to NYC. Follow us on Instagram @thenewyorkworld

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