Legal New York NHL Betting
The National Hockey League may have gotten its start more than 100 years ago in the Canadian province of Quebec, but since 1989 the league has made it headquarters and home base in New York City. Despite the long and storied tradition of the state’s several successful NHL franchises, New York hockey fans have been out of luck when it came to a legal option for wagering on their favorite teams. However, the arrival of sports betting websites based overseas in recent years has finally made legal New York NHL betting a reality for the Empire State’s legions of diehard hockey supporters.
Federal sports betting laws and New York’s own state legal code combined to make wagering on sports mostly impossible throughout the majority of the 50 states, precluding the possibility for legal wagering on the NHL to the consternation of fans and bettors alike. All that changed when sites like 5Dimes.eu, SportsBetting.ag and BetOnline.ag came online. These internet-based betting shops have become the de fact New York sportsbooks of choice due to being 100 percent legal and licensed in their home nations while being simultaneously outside the reach of US prohibitions against sports wagering.
All the New York-friendly sportsbook sites we recommend for our users stand head and shoulders above the competition with regard to security features and bonus promotions, and in terms of the wide variety of current NHL odds available each and every week of the season and into the playoffs. But just knowing that our highest recommended betting shops exist and that they have odds on all your New Yorkers’ favorite teams isn’t enough. That’s why we compiled this comprehensive guide dedicated to explaining the ins and outs of legal New York NHL betting for new bettors and gambling veterans alike.
By moving to NYC – in many ways considered the by the worldwide hub for sports, being the site of the all the other major professional sports leagues in North America – the NHL demonstrated its willingness to step into the limelight as a major force in pro athletics. However, the NHL’s involvement in New York started much earlier – all the way back in 1926, actually – with the founding of the New York Rangers in 1926. Two other teams, those being the New York Islanders and the Buffalo Sabres, joined in the early 1970s, and the trio has gone on to thoroughly lock down the Empire State as America’s home for hockey.
Of the three clubs mentioned, the New York Rangers are probably the most well-known, though all three have been quite successful in their own right. The Rangers are one of the NHL’s “Original Six,” the six teams that for 25 seasons between 1942 and 1967 were the only clubs competing for the league championship and the associated (and much vaunted) Stanley Cup, which up until that time had been awarded to the best team from the several leagues in Canada. After the NHL absorbed its competitors within the first two decades of the 20th century, it was ready for expansion into the US, and New York led the way in more ways than one.
The Rangers won the title four times in their history, including in only their second year of existence, becoming the first non-Canadian team to claim the Cup. The Islanders (which came on-board with the NHL after the 1967 expansion) have enjoyed similar success, winning four league championship titles of their own. As for the Sabres (the home of the legendary Tim Horton, the founder of Canada’s greatest non-hockey export, the inestimable Tim Horton’s coffee and donut breakfast combo), though they have yet to win a Stanley Cup, the club has nevertheless played for it several times, losing only after close series.
All three of New York’s teams, and even the New Jersey Devils, which are also based in the NYC metropolitan area and have won three Stanley Cups of their own, are solid choice for legal New York NHL betting. In the next few sections we will go more in-depth at how federal and state laws the work together to make placing wagers on New Yorkers’ favorite hockey teams difficult at best and illegal at worst – until, that is, the arrival of offshore sportsbook sites on the scene. These betting shops based overseas have really shaken up the sports wagering scene, and their service to New York hockey fans is doubtlessly much appreciated given the high quality of local NHL teams vying for the support of the Empire State’s residents.
Our discussion of the legal aspect of New York NHL betting has to begin with a closer look at the federal sports betting laws that make the practice so difficult (or outright ban it) in the first place. Strap yourself in, because we’ve got a lot to go through here. The short version is that there are three main sources of all the trouble: federal anti-gambling legislation like the Wire Act of 1961, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA).
These laws don’t actually punish bettors so much as make it impossible for domestic operators to take action on sports, leaving casual gamblers – in this case average New York NHL betting fans – with no legal outlet actually located in the US for placing their wagers. Each of the laws goes about this in a different way and for different reasons, but the result is that the only means of legally betting on sports is to use a sportsbook site like 5Dimes, BetOnline or SportsBetting not hosted in the United States. The good news is there isn’t really much of a negative to this for players outside of a few hoops they have to jump through regarding deposits and cashing out their ticket. In fact, most of the detrimental effects of these federal laws is felt by the government itself, which is denied access to hundreds of millions in annual taxable revenues.
The first of the three major is the Federal Wire Act, which was the brainchild of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy (the younger brother of President John F. Kennedy, who actually signed this bill into law), who envisioned it as a effective tool to counter the power of organized crime. Indeed, the purpose of the Wire Act was to cut off a valuable source of income for the mob – that is, it banned the interstate transmission of information related to betting at a means of putting a halt to the mafia’s favored practice of match-fixing. The Wire Act was largely successful in this regard, all but demolishing the architecture criminal syndicates used to engage in their profitable sports racketeering schemes which were actually more profitable and far less risky than participating in the narcotics trade or managing prostitution rings.
Even though it was successful at stopping mafiosos from running illegal sports betting rings, the Wire Act couldn’t really stop normal people from betting on sports, and so the practice continued unabated throughout much of the country (so long as the state didn’t specifically ban book-making) for the better part of half a century. All that changed with the passage of PASPA in the early ‘90s, a move that signaled a change in perspective on the question of whether or not wagering on sports should be allowable in the US or not. Rather than going after the involvement of the criminal element in sports betting, PASPA instead attacked the practice on moral grounds, ostensibly making the argument that placing wagers on sports simultaneously violated the ethics of sports itself and conveyed an unhealthy message to young athletes about the role of sports in society.
PASPA’s effect was a sweeping ban that impacted the states’ ability to pass legislation legalizing and regulating sports wagering industries within their borders. In fact, only the four states (Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon) that had explicitly codified protections for some or all forms of sports wagering were allowed to continue offering legal wagering platforms for sports bettors. There have been some moves in recent years to overturn PASPA or have it repealed by the Supreme Court, notably by New Jersey’s congressional delegation, but state’s like New York and others have even gone as far as to introduce bills that would make sports betting legal within their borders if PASPA were to be struck down.
The final piece of the puzzle that essentially made domestic based brick-and-mortar sportsbooks and domestically hosted sports betting websites illegal in the US was the UIGEA, which controversially passed as a rider to a totally unrelated piece of must-pass antiterrorism legislation in ’06. Unlike the Wire Act, which went after criminals scamming bettors, or the PASPA, which said gambling on sports sent a bad message to kids (more or less), was aimed at financial institutions that processed credit card transactions related to gambling online. This of course prevented a lot of dedicated internet poker players from wagering and collecting their winnings, and in fact this section of the broader online gambling industry took the worst hit, but it also made it near impossible for sports bettors to conveniently load up their bankrolls or cash out their tickets.
This patchwork of federal sports betting laws caused a ton of headaches for hockey fans looking for legal New York NHL betting options. Fortunately, as we will soon see, New York’s own state laws left plenty of wiggle room (or gray area, if you will) for residents to wager on their favorite teams without worrying if they were going to run afoul of the law in the process. We will get into that in greater detail in the next section, but for now suffice it to say that using offshore sportsbooks New York can depend on like 5Dimes, SportsBetting and BetOnline won’t get you in trouble if you’re looking to bet on the NHL.
NBA betting in New York is legal in spite of federal prohibitions against it and even a fairly strong state-level stance against book-making and line-selling (that means no sportsbooks inside the state lines) found right in the Empire State’s constitution. How can both these things be true? It comes down to a total lack of language regarding internet-based betting in New York state laws pertaining to gambling.
Since the top-rated legal New York sportsbooks are actually websites and they’re all located overseas, the simple fact is there is no law against betting on the NBA so long as you use these sites. That being said, any prospective bettor should be aware that it is still illegal to try to bet on the NBA at a sportsbook or sports betting site that is actually based in New York, so don’t even waste your time seeking out a local bookie – you could get in some serious legal trouble for your efforts. Fortunately, there isn’t much of an incentive to do so, considering how good sites like BetOnline, SportsBetting and 5Dimes are at meeting the demands of New York’s basketball fans.
So matter whether your team is the Knicks or the Nets, the next time you want to get in the action of legal New York NBA betting, head on over to the sites we recommend. If your team does well you’ll cash big tickets and you’ll keep out of trouble with the law at the same time. That’s practically the textbook definition of a “win-win” scenario.