Delaware Gambling Laws

Do you believe it?

Delaware was the first state to legalize online gambling. They were also the first to launch legal casino games and sports betting. The state was 2nd to launch – they managed to launch a few weeks before New Jersey.

A bit of a surprise.

Especially considering that they have a handful of live casino options, and their gambling laws, while unclear, aren’t particularly friendly either. Between that and a smaller population of 900,000 players, you just don’t expect Delaware to be at the top of the legal gambling food chain.

But they pulled it off.

Not without issues, though. From a technical standpoint they had problems with their software loading, being able to correctly verify players’ locations, and players had a hard time funding their accounts.

From a financial point of view, they did small numbers, in comparison to both their initial estimates and neighboring New Jersey, who managed to outdo them by a factor of 28x.

That said, Delaware has still managed to grow their network 8% month over month. Small, but it’s progress nonetheless.

And the bottom line is --- at least it’s legal to gamble online here. That’s more than what the remaining 47 states can say.

They’ll always be #1, too. Take that, Nevada and New Jersey.

Current Gambling Laws in Delaware

The following is a cliff-note version of the state’s gambling laws. If you have any questions, we recommend talking to your lawyer or local law enforcement.

Online Gambling – This is legal, but only at licensed and regulated sites. Offshore casinos and poker rooms are becoming a thing of the past anyway. The Merge Network has made news recently for pulling out of Delaware.

The following list is of the only legal sites in the state:

  • Delaware Park – You can bet on racing, sports, play poker, casino and online games.
  • Dover Downs – Play casino table games, slots, horse racing and their online poker and casino games.
  • Harrington Raceway & Casino – Play table games, poker slots and bet on horses.

 

The bill, HB 333 (The Gaming Competiveness Act of 2013), expanded their current lottery selection to include sports betting, poker and casino games. More than 20 non-casinos will off sports betting, and more than 100 locations will add keno and scratch tickets.

A couple more things –

Player to player transfers are not allowed (online). And inactive account balances will be turned over to the state.

Each of the casinos are using software from 888. What’s unique about this is that players can have separate accounts at all 3 operators, but they can only log into one at a time.

Live Gaming – This is (obviously) allowed. The minimum age is 21.

Home Poker Games – Social games appear to be ILLEGAL. At least for the host. We base this on the following statute.

1404. Providing premises for gambling; class A misdemeanor; unclassified misdemeanor.

A person is guilty of providing premises for gambling when:

(1) The person lets, demises or transfers to another person any building, structure, room or rooms knowing that the same will be used for the purpose of committing any gambling offense; or
(2) The person knowingly permits any house, structure, building, room or rooms of which the person has possession or control to be used for the purpose of committing any gambling offense; or

Otherwise it’s unclear. If you plan to host or participate in a social game, we recommend you speak to your local law enforcement.

Charitable Gambling – This is allowed. This includes bingo, raffles, casino nights and poker tournaments. Prize pools for poker tournaments cannot exceed $13,000, and players cannot win more than $5,000. However, games like slot machines, baccarat, roulette or craps aren’t allowed.

Gambling Timeline in Delaware

Here are some of the most important dates regarding online gambling in Delaware.

January 28th, 2014 – The Merge Gaming Network added Delaware (and New Jersey) to their list of states they will not accept players from – new or old.

December 31st, 2013 – By this time Delaware’s 3 casinos only managed to register 4k accounts, and only brought in $253,000. That pales in comparison to New Jersey – they brought in more than $7 million in their first month.

November 8th, 2013 – The 3 casinos launch for real money action 2.5 weeks before New Jersey. There were issues between the casinos’ software and geo-verification software. On the bright side, they were the first to launch face2face poker, which is a ‘pokercam’ table that allows players to see each other while playing.

August 28th, 2013 – Delaware’s launched their first 3 casinos for the first phase – to let players try out their slots, blackjack, roulette and poker games for free.

June 28th, 2012 – HB 333 was signed by Governor Jack Markell, authorizing the bill.

May 09th, 2012 – HB 333 was introduced. This would legalize all forms of gambling online, including poker, casino games, sports betting and lotteries. They’re the first state to do this.