Delaware is a small state with a massive land-based gambling industry. The available real money gaming options range from casino-style entertainment available at the racinos in New Castle and Kent to pari-mutuel horse race betting and even parlay sports betting. Delaware has a state-operated lottery and allows charitable gambling. It’s also one of the few states that have already introduced iGaming-friendly regulations.
The constitution of Delaware criminalizes all forms of gambling that aren’t controlled by the state. However, the local state law doesn’t provide us with a clear-cut definition of gambling. Furthermore, it is still unclear whether the regulations that penalize people for participating in unlawful gambling activities apply to play on offshore sites. The bill that legalized online lottery ticket sales didn’t explicitly prohibit the use of unlicensed internet gambling platforms either, so many people believe that joining sites like Bovada is perfectly legal within the borders of the state. This problem has never been resolved in the court, as no online gamblers have been charged with breaking the gambling laws so far.
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Delaware Gambling Law Summary
Gambling in Delaware is defined as “recording or registering bets or wagers, or directly or indirectly betting or wagering, money or anything of value.” All gambling-related matters are covered by Delaware Code 3-10001 et seq. and 11-1401 et seq. The minimum gambling age is 18 for horse race betting and 21 for casino games.
|Land-Based Gambling||Yes||Three casinos and sportsbooks|
|Online Gambling||Yes||Online casinos, poker, DFS, and pari-mutuel (no online sports betting yet)|
|Charitable Gaming||Yes||Bingo, raffles and poker tournaments|
|Minimum Gambling Age||18 for pari-mutuel; 21 for casinos (online and live)|
Online Gambling in Delaware
Delaware was the first state to legalize online gambling. Its iGaming bill was passed in June 2012, paving the way for similar legislation in New Jersey and Nevada, which both introduced similar laws in early 2013. Charitable gambling aside, all real money gambling options in Delaware are available via the local racetrack-casinos, with the state lottery overseeing them in addition to offering draw games. Playing on offshore sites or any other platforms that haven’t been sanctioned by the state is considered unlawful gambling and constitutes a violation.
Delaware is home to three state-sanctioned casino sites operated by the local land-based gambling establishments: Delaware Park Online (Delaware Park), Dover Downs Online Gaming (Dover Downs), and Harrington Online (Harrington Raceway). However, the three locations act more like skins of a single site as each of them is powered by the same software package supplied by 888 Holdings.
Available games include slots, progressive jackpot slots, video poker, and classic table games, such as blackjack and roulette. The Delaware Lottery oversees these establishments, taxing its operators and transferring the money to the state via lottery contributions. Delaware officials have every reason to be happy about their decision to pave the way for legal online gambling in the United States – the revenue generated by the casinos grew from $1.4 million in 2012 to $3 million in 2016.
All three racinos offer slots and table games. They are relatively large for such a small state – each hosts more than 1,500 terminals on its gambling floor. The RTP on land-based slots is required by law to fall within the 87%-95% range.
All three regulated Delaware casino sites have offered 888’s brand of online poker since their launch. At first, the network suffered from little traffic, which resulted in a poor cash game experience. In May 2015, Delaware began pooling players with Nevada, which contributed to a significant boost in player count, particularly during peak traffic hours. On May 1, 2018, the player pooling agreement was expanded to New Jersey, creating a respectable poker network capable of providing players with 24/7 action. Pennsylvania is expected to join this growing network somewhere down the line as internet poker was recently legalized there. At this time, this is pure speculation, and PA regulators haven’t issued any official statements regarding potential player pooling compacts so far.
Each Delaware casino operates its own live poker room.
Delaware Sports Betting
Before 2018, Delaware was one of four states that were allowed to offer sports betting services in a limited capacity. As soon as the Supreme Court struck down PASPA and lifted the federal ban on this gambling form, Delaware passed legislation allowing its local casinos to launch their own land-based sportsbooks, which they promptly did. Governor John Carney himself placed the first bet on June 5, 2018. Online sports betting hasn’t been introduced yet, but given Delaware’s track record in passing groundbreaking gambling-related legislation, this is likely just a matter of time.
Horse race betting is legal in Delaware and is available both on-site and in licensed off-track facilities. Delaware residents are also allowed to wager on out-of-state races.
Delaware Daily Fantasy Sports
The legal status of DFS contests in Delaware was normalized on July 26, 2017, when the Interactive Fantasy Contest Act was signed into law by Governor John Carney. The new act requires all DFS operators who want to offer their services to Delaware residents to register with the Delaware Division of Gaming Enforcement. So far, three sites have been authorized to operate in the First State: FanDuel, DraftKings, and DRAFT.
The Delaware Lottery offers local lotto games, multi-state lotto games, keno, instant-win games, as well as video lottery and sports lottery products. Even though Delaware has been leading the charge in iGaming-related legislation, the Lottery isn’t allowed to sell any tickets online. The state’s Lottery website serves for information purposes only, and tickets can only be purchased from licensed land-based retailers. The only internet gambling products that fall under the Delaware Lottery’s jurisdiction are casino and poker games operated by the local gambling establishments.
Bingo is a popular charity game in Delaware, but unfortunately, the local casinos don’t operate any dedicated online bingo platforms. Because no other businesses offer state-sanctioned iGaming services, Delaware residents are currently unable to play bingo for money over the internet legally. There is a slim chance that this might change in the future as 888 Holdings is more than capable of supplying its local partners with the necessary software. However, such a development doesn’t seem very likely due to the relatively small size of the local market.
Delaware Online Gambling FAQ
What laws cover online gambling in DE?
Gambling in Delaware is regulated by the Delaware Constitution and by Delaware statutes. The Diamond State doesn’t have any regulations that’d explicitly prohibit playing on offshore sites, and many people believe that the general rules can’t be applied to online play.
Is real money online gambling legal in DE?
The state lottery is legal, but it’s hard to determine whether playing on offshore iGaming sites is a criminal act or not. As mentioned above, the local police don’t care about individual gamblers, which means that no online players had to face illegal gambling charges up to this point.
Which offshore gambling sites accept DE residents?
If you live in Delaware, you shouldn’t have any problems with playing at one of the major offshore sites.
What are the most popular banking options supported by Delaware-facing sites?
Delaware residents don’t get any special treatment from offshore operators in terms of banking options. If you live in Delaware, the best way to fund an online gambling account would be to use your credit card or debit card. Cashing out is pretty much always handled via a wire transfer, but in some cases, you might be allowed to request a check by courier.
Does DE offer any intrastate online gambling?
Delaware doesn’t offer any regulated iGaming services aside from online lottery ticket sales.
Is it likely for DE to regulate online gambling?
Delaware has already passed one online gambling bill, legalizing online lottery sales. Nevertheless, some experts believe that the state legislators won’t be willing to move on to regulating online casino games or poker because the local population might simply be too small to sustain a major iGaming site of this type.