Delaware became the second state to legalize and regulate online gambling on June 27, 2012. Delaware took a different route than Nevada, the only other state that had passed a similar law at the time. Nevada only legalized online poker. Delaware added casino games to online poker. Nevada – and eventually New Jersey – authorized the state’s casinos to spread online gaming. Delaware regulates online gaming through its state lottery.
Delaware chose 888 to provide the platform for its online poker and casino games. The state’s three racetracks – Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway – are white label skins. All three offer the same games and essentially identical promotions. There is little that differentiates Delaware’s three legal gaming sites.
The Delaware Lottery launched free play games on August 27, 2013. Real money games opened in beta on November 1, 2013. The action opened to the general public one week later.
Casino game platform offers limited games
The 888 platform in Delaware offers very few games compared to competing gaming software packages in other states and countries. The only table games are blackjack and roulette. Jacks or Better is the lone video poker title. The 888 Delaware platform only has 13 slot games. None of these slots are available in Delaware’s bricks-and-mortar casinos. This lack of brand awareness may be a contributing factor in the state’s low interactive gaming revenue.
Delaware interactive lottery revenue well below expectations
The Delaware Lottery and industry observers predicted that internet gaming would generate $5 million per year in gross revenue. Confidence was so high in these predictions that the Delaware Lottery placed a 100 percent tax on the first $3.75 million in gaming win. The first year of internet gaming in Delaware generated just under $2 million. This means that 888 and its skins did not receive any income from operations. It all went to the state.
Conditions have not improved in the second year of online gaming in Delaware. 888 and its local partners still have not generated a dime in revenue in the state.
North Dakota licenses Bet America which accepts legal online wagers for horse racing, dog racing and fantasy sports. This is legal for residents of this state (please read their terms and conditions to ensure this has not changed).
Delaware interstate poker compact with Nevada
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed an agreement to share online poker liquidity on February 24, 2014. This deal was the first of its kind. It permits sites to network between the two states. Sites that participate in this agreement would operate with players at the tables from both Delaware and Nevada.
WSOP.com in Nevada and 888 in Delaware combined player pools through this deal on March 24, 2015. It was an easy transition because WSOP.com in Nevada uses software powered by 888. Real Gaming, the only other regulated poker site in Nevada, does not participate in the interstate poker liquidity agreement.
This deal improved Delaware’s poker liquidity. The average number of players on the Delaware intrastate site before combining player pools was seven, according to Pokerscout.com. It drew no more than a couple of dozen players each day. Delaware online poker players now have access to a site that averages 170 players and peaks over 300 players daily. The added game selection has done little to improve online poker revenue in Delaware.