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On June 28, 2012, Delaware governor Jack Markell signed into law the Delaware Gaming Competiveness Act of 2012 (1). Delaware thus became the second state in the United States to pass a bill regulating online gambling.
Delaware had historically been pretty conservative when it came to allowing gambling, until the mid 70’s when they established the Delaware Lottery and also legalized horse racing and aggressively pursued promoting that.
Both of these established institutions would factor into the new online gaming scheme, as it is managed by the Delaware State Lottery Office and the games that are offered are even referred to as part of being forms of a lottery, even though we don’t normally think of poker or casino games as having anything to do with lotteries.
So the “Internet Lottery Regulations” became set out and specify in detail how online gaming is to be run in the State of Delaware (2). “Lottery” as defined by the regulations means any game run by the state lottery office, which means all of them as they administer the entire operation.
Online Poker In Delaware
This is a full service operation and they manage everything from online poker and casino games, to horseracing, and of course the online sale of lottery tickets as well. The state’s three main horseracing operations operate the sites, Delaware Park, Dover Downs, and Harrington Raceway, where upon verification of your being physically located in Delaware, and if you are 21 years of age or older, you become eligible to open an account and partake in the fun.
The three licensed online poker operations operate as a single poker network, sharing players and tables like other poker networks do, so in that sense it doesn’t matter which one you play on as you will have the same access to the network.
The poker operation in Delaware is operated under the guidance of leading poker room 888.com, who is also heavily involved in the online poker operations in Nevada and New Jersey, in addition to operating the second largest poker room in the world as well as the world’s largest online casino.
Unlike New Jersey, who get twice as much online casino revenue as they do online poker revenue, the revenue from online poker exceeds that gained from the online casino action in Delaware thus far, although with that said things have started out more slowly in Delaware than in the other two states that currently offer online gaming.
Delaware’s Challenges In The Online Poker Market
A big part of the challenge has been the state’s very small population from which to draw upon, which is less than a million. Still though, a million people isn’t anything to sneeze at, and the people of Delaware do have a penchant for gambling, as their lottery and horse racing operations are much bigger than their population base would suggest.
Their slow start though probably has more to do with the lack of momentum that they have been able to achieve so far, something that all new online poker operations tend to struggle with initially. If there aren’t many players playing, then prospective players tend to be turned off, as they don’t see the kind of action they would like to entice them enough. So with people not being enticed enough the enterprise can see very limited growth, until enough momentum can be built to get things moving.
There is also the matter of competition from offshore online poker rooms such as Bovada, who have grown quite a bit lately, and still offer online poker to residents of most states, including Delaware.
While regulated poker does have several advantages over offshore poker, particularly when it comes to offering much better banking options, a certain level of action is still needed to get players to really want to play there and to grow things the way they are needed.
Delaware Takes Matters Into Their Own Hands
After struggling mightily with trying to get online poker off the ground in Delaware, they have found a partner in Nevada now, and no longer do Delaware players have to suffer with just seeing just one or a few tables running, with very limited options.
Fortunately for Delaware players, the state did not give up on online poker, in spite of the very small amount of money they ended up having to settle for, and looked beyond their state borders for help.
It was well known that Nevada had been looking to expand their reach and player base into other states, something that’s been in the works ever since the idea of online poker first came up there. Delaware certainly needed the help, and so the two states came to an agreement to share players, and the Multi State Poker Network was formed, consisting of all the online players in both Nevada and Delaware.
This was a huge improvement for Delaware players, who had been hungry for some real action, and they now can log in to the largest online poker network in the country, which is available through any of the three online poker sites in the state.
The State of Online Poker in Delaware Today
Any one physically located in Delaware, whether they are a resident or just visiting, can open an account at any of the three online poker sites here, Delaware Park, Dover Downs, or Harrington Raceway, and play to their heart’s content. All you need is an internet connection, money to deposit, be located in Delaware, be over 21, and have a cell phone capable of receiving text messages so they can confirm your location.
If you had played at any of these sites prior to the expansion of the player pool you were probably disappointed, but things have changed here dramatically, and for the better, as there is way more action and excitement nowadays. All three sites are on this network, and they are all very similar, but you still need to choose which one you want to play on, so we’ve provided reviews for you on all 3, and also give you a better sense of what it’s like to play online poker in Delaware these days.
So feel free to check out the reviews of these 3 sites by clicking on them: