Among all the states of the Union with their ambiguous legal jargon and mysterious ‘grey area’ laws, it’s nice to be able to say that the online poker laws in Delaware don’t fall into that majority category. The Diamond State was the second in the US to legalize online poker; the first to legalize other online gambling activities. As of October 31, 2013, the Diamond State has authorized and launched three regulated online poker sites:
– DelawarePark.com/iGaming (Delaware Park)
– DoverDowns.com/Online (Dover Downs)
– HarringtonGamingOnline.com (Harrington Raceway)
Players physically located in the state of Delaware, aged 21+, may access these websites, register and verify their account, and play online poker and/or casino games for real money, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Best of all, members have peace of mind in knowing that all licensed operators are closely regulated by the state.
Legality of Online Poker Delaware
When the US Department of Justice altered its opinion, giving states the right to legalize and regulate online poker and casino games, law makers in Delaware immediately began formulating the necessary language to draft an online gaming bill. In the beginning, it was rather abstruse, written in an equivocal manner so as to provide for elaboration down the road. Fortunately, online poker was eventually added to the internet gaming menu, and sites were given the go ahead to launch on October 31, 2013.
Delaware Code – Gambling Laws
In order to understand what state legislators have amended to legalize and regulate online poker in Delaware, I’ve provided a list of relative statutes associated with the June 28, 2012 passage of House Bill #333, “The Gaming Competitiveness Act of 2012”; an amendment to Title 4 and 29 of the Delaware Code which relate to the state’s lottery. Passage of the bill officially legalized the act of online gambling.
The following contains annotated citations from Delaware Code, Title 29, Chapter 48: Lotteries.
§ 4801. Statement of purpose;
(c) In authorizing the use of the Internet for certain lottery games, it is the further purpose of the General Assembly to:
(1) Expand access to certain lottery games… on the Internet in a well-regulated and secure system designed to create a positive customer experience that limits access to minors, those with gambling problems, and others who should not be gaming;
(4) Enhance the offerings of the Delaware lottery by allowing it to develop keno and the sports lottery in a manner that promotes additional convenience and choices for Delawareans.
§ 4801. Definitions
Internet Lottery: shall mean all lottery games in which the player’s interaction with the game operated by the Office occurs over the Internet (which, for purposes of this chapter, shall include any public or private computer or terminal network, whether linked electronically, wirelessly, through optical networking technology or other means), including Internet ticket games, the Internet video lottery and Internet table games.
Internet Table Games: shall mean a lottery game in which the player’s interaction with the game operated by the Office occurs over the Internet through a website or network of a video lottery agent, rather than at a table game in a video lottery facility, and in which the game is an Internet variation or compilation of a table game or table games, provided that the game is expressly authorized by rule of the Director.
Poker Revenue: shall mean the total value of rake charged to players at all poker tables. The poker revenue is determined by adding the value of cash, coupons, the amount recorded on the closer, the totals of amounts recorded on the credits and markers removed from a drop box, and subtracting the amount on the opener and the total of amounts recorded on fills removed from a drop box.
Table Game: shall mean any game played… (excluding keno, video lottery machines, and the Internet lottery) for money, credit or any representative of value, including, but not limited to, baccarat, blackjack, twenty-one, poker, craps, roulette, bingo, wheel of fortune or any variation of these games, whether or not similar in design or operation, provided that the game is expressly authorized by rule of the Director.
What does it all mean?
Under the definitions, you’ll notice I quoted Internet Table Games and standard Table Games. In the Internet Table Games definition, poker and card games are not specifically mentioned. It simply states: “in which the game is an Internet variation or compilation of a table game”. Now reading the definition of Table Game, we see that poker and other card games are ‘expressly authorized by rule of the Director’. Thus online poker is legalized, by association.
To put it simply, it means that online poker is legal and regulated in the state of Delaware!
More precisely, anyone age 21 or older who is physically located in the state of Delaware may register an account at any of the authorized online poker/casino websites, make a deposit and play to their hearts content.
A self-exclusion law was also imposed, giving gamers the option of setting up limits as to how much they can deposit and wager in a given period of time.
Interstate Online Poker Compacts in Delaware
Delaware is one of the smallest states in the Union, in regards to both land mass and population. The state’s limited inhabitants, estimated at 935,614 (2014 US Census Bureau) – and let’s remember only a portion of them are adult age individuals with a desire to gamble over the internet – greatly limits the state’s ability to attract a laudable number of poker players across their three authorized websites.
Fortunately, Delaware acted quickly to sign a shared liquidity compact to pool players across networks with Nevada. The governors of both state signed the compact in February of 2014, but it took an entire year for both sides to be satisfied with the geolocation technology and networking software before their networks were merged.
In March of 2015, Delaware’s three poker sites and Nevada’s WSOP.com—all powered by 888 software—began sharing online poker players. Since then, Delaware’s online poker market has experienced a significant traffic boost, increasing from less than 10 players over a 7-day average, to a current average of 180 (including players on WSOP NV).