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The tiny state of Delaware, second-smallest in the nation, became the first state in the US to legalize online poker and online casino games in June 2012.
Casino games launched on three separate Delaware online casino sites fronted by the state’s three casino and racetrack properties at the end of October 2013. The sites run with oversight provided by the Delaware Lottery.
There are three online casino and poker sites operating in Delaware. Each one is affiliated with one of the state’s three casino and racetrack properties. The sites include:
All three sites run the same 888 Poker software and share player pools with not only each other but the WSOP.com poker sites in Nevada and New Jersey.
The only difference in the three sites is in branding and promotions. Each site offers its own deposit bonuses at varying levels.
The sites all offer No-Limit Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha, and Pot-Limit Omaha Hi/Lo cash games and sit and go’s on the shared player pool network.
Limit Hold’em, Seven Card Stud, and Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo games are also available in Delaware only. These games were hard to come by when traffic was just shared between Delaware and Nevada, but with New Jersey in the mix, there might be a large enough pool to get games going.
All multi-table tournaments run on the shared player pool. That means two dozen guaranteed tournaments every day. Most are of the No-Limit Hold’em variety. The largest weekly event is a $100 No-Limit Hold’em tournament with a $15,000 guaranteed prize pool held on Sundays.
The market for online casino games and online poker has remained rather small in the state.
In fact, the Delaware Lottery reported the state’s three gaming operators earned combined online gambling revenue of just under $2.4 million in 2017. This was down almost 20 percent from the still rather small $3 million in revenue recorded in 2016.
Furthermore, online poker revenues are just a small portion of that. In fact, Delaware online poker revenues reached just $231,000 in 2017. This number was down close to 40 percent from 2016’s $376,000.
The laws that govern online poker in Delaware are a part of the Delaware Gaming Competitiveness Act. State lawmakers turned this bill into law on June 28, 2013.
It was almost a year before the state selected a joint bid by 888 Holdings, Scientific Games Corporation, and Williams Interactive LLC to provide it with Internet gambling services. Online poker games finally launched in Delaware on a three-site shared network on Nov. 8, 2013.
The Delaware Lottery acts as the gaming regulator in the state and provides oversight to the three sites.
It is 100 percent legal to play online poker at online poker sites regulated and licensed by the Delaware Lottery.
The Delaware Lottery enforces all laws governing the operation of legal online poker rooms in the state, including the following:
A full list of all rules governing online poker and casino games in the state are available through the Delaware Lottery website.
There are three racino properties in Delaware that offer casino gaming and pari-mutuel wagering on live and simulcast horse racing. Each also has its own poker room.
Despite being the second-smallest state in the US, and the sixth-least populated, Delaware is somewhat of a pioneer state when it comes to online gambling.
After the state’s General Assembly passed it, the Delaware Senate voted 14-6-1 in favor of it without making any amendments. Then, Markell signed the Delaware Gaming Competitiveness Act of 2012 into law on Thursday, June 28, 2012. Delaware became the first state in the US to legalize online gambling.
Of course, online casinos and poker rooms didn’t open up overnight.
The law essentially authorized the Delaware Lottery to issue online casino and poker licenses to the three existing racetrack and casino properties in the state:
It also authorized the lottery to seek out an online gambling software provider to run things. A request for proposals was issued near the end of 2012. In May 2014 the state selected a joint bid by 888 Holdings, Scientific Games Corporation, and Williams Interactive LLC to provide the Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway with Internet gambling services.
Online poker games finally launched in on a three-site shared network in the state on Nov. 8, 2013.
Right from the get-go the market proved to be quite small. In fact, the sites averaged only about 20 players in off-peak times and 40 players at peak times. The numbers have remained the same throughout legal and regulated online poker’s more than three-year history in Delaware.
However, the few players that do play in the Diamond State have access to a much larger player pool thanks to its interstate compact, giving them more choice in cash games and access to larger tournament prize pools.
The shared games launched on WSOP.com in Nevada and the three-site racino online poker network in Delaware in late March 2015 using 888 software.
The shared player pool tournaments and cash games are now the only ones running regularly in Delaware.
In October 2017, New Jersey signed a similar agreement with both states. That agreement resulted in shared player pools with all three states going live on April 30, 2018.