History of Gambling and Where you Can Bet Online In the State of Delaware

Delaware’s gambling laws allow most gambling activities.

The state has three horse track and casino hybrid establishments that offer
almost any casino game, sportsbooks or race betting. Delaware also has a state
lottery and many bingo halls.

Delaware was the first state to license online gambling in 2012. In 2013,
they licensed the three horse track and casino establishments to have Delaware
gambling sites.

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Online Gambling and Delaware Law

Delaware gambling sites became legal in 2012, and the first Delaware gambling
sites were launched shortly after in 2013. The state’s goal in this was to
increase revenue.

Here’s the Delaware Lottery Games mission statement:

“To maximize Internet Gaming revenue contributed to the state’s General Fund
by providing entertaining and secure Internet Gaming products.

To operate all games and facilities in a highly secure environment and in
compliance with all legislation, internal control requirements and Internet
Gaming Rules & Regulations, in keeping with the Delaware Lottery’s quality
image and high level of integrity.”

Is Online Gambling Legal in Delaware?

Yes, online gambling is legal and regulated in Delaware.

Online gaming is available through the three casinos located in Delaware, and
also through Nevada’s state-regulated gambling sites.

According to section 13.22.2 of the Internet Lottery Rules and
Regulations:

“The Internet lottery system shall only allow players access to play for
money games if there is reasonable assurance that the players are physically
located in either the State of Delaware or a jurisdiction pursuant to a compact
to which Delaware is a party.”

“Jurisdiction pursuant to a compact to which Delaware is a party” refers to
other states Delaware signs a compact with in order to let their residents have
access to their online gaming sites.

Here’s an example:

Delaware and Nevada have a compact that allows Delaware residents to play at
online Nevada gambling sites. It also allows Nevada residents to play at online
Delaware gambling sites.

All three of the Delaware gambling sites through the casinos offer online
poker, roulette, blackjack, promotions and mobile apps.

Can I Get Arrested for Gambling Online in Delaware?

You can’t get arrested for gambling online in Delaware if you use sites
regulated by the state.

No written laws about offshore gambling sites exist in Delaware, but
practically all forms of gambling that aren’t state regulated are illegal. This
would include gambling at offshore casinos.

Although Delaware could technically arrest you for gambling at offshore
gambling sites, we have yet to find any cases where they have done this to
anyone. Why you would want to take the additional risk of gambling at an
offshore casino when you could gamble at a state-regulated casino in your own
state is beyond us.

Are Daily Fantasy Sports Legal in Delaware?

According to the ESPN website about daily fantasy sports:

“On July 7, 2016, the Delaware Department of Justice notified several leading
DFS operators that “their respective online fantasy sports activities are not
permitted under Delaware law.” The notice followed a legislative push for a new
daily fantasy-friendly law.”

Since Delaware clearly prohibits online daily fantasy sports, you can’t
participate. If you try to get around this law, you’ll probably forfeit your
winnings.

Are offshore gambling sites safe?

Since offshore gambling sites are not located in the U.S, they’re not subject
to the same laws or standards that Delaware gambling sites have.

To assess the quality of an offshore gambling site, you should look at
several factors including the company that owns the site, the licensing
jurisdiction and how long the site has been in business.

Looking into these factors can give you a good idea of how safe the site is.
Sites and companies that have been in business longer are generally safer
because they’re doing something right in order to keep in business. You can also
find online reviews and complaints about these sites.

Below, you’ll read more about finding and researching online gaming sites
that operate offshore. We’re still confused about why you would want to, but
possible reasons for going outside the state-regulated online casinos might
include:

  • You might be looking for games or activities that these sites don’t offer.
  • You might want to bet on sports, which isn’t offered online at any of these Delaware gambling sites.
  • You might enjoy different software packages.
  • You might want to take advantage of a particularly aggressive bonus offer from an offshore casino.

How do I choose a good online gaming site?

Before signing up for the first gaming site you find, try these tips. They’ll
help you find a good online gaming site. These tips apply to online casinos,
sportsbooks and poker rooms.

Game Variety

Visit the game area in order to see the selection of games
they offer. If you’re going to sign up for a gaming site, make sure they offer
the games you want to play.

Tournaments

If you’re interested in tournaments, look at the site’s
tournament schedule to see how often they host tournaments and what type of
tournaments are available. Not all offshore casinos offer casino game
tournaments or poker tournaments.

Bonus Terms & Conditions

No one wants to read the fine print, but consider
reading the information provided about bonuses. You want to know what bonuses
are available and how much you have to wager before they become available to
you. It’s hard to make a profit by taking advantage of online casino bonuses.
The restrictions are severe.

Read Reviews

Reading reviews is the easiest way to see what you should
expect from the site. You’ll be able to read about the good, the bad and the
ugly, and be able to make a more informed decision about joining the site. Learn
to discern real reviews from “advertorials,” though. One clue that a page was
written by a shill is the lack of any negatives about the site. A real review
should cover the pros and cons of a site.

Customer Complaints

Searching for the name of the site + “complaint” could
bring up some complaints or issues other users have had with the site that you
didn’t see when reading the reviews. Be skeptical of these, too. An attitude of
cynicism can help you discriminate between nonsense and real information.

Deposit Options

Looking at the site’s cashier page shows you the available
deposit options. You’ll want to make sure there’s a method you’re comfortable
using before signing up for the site. One advantage to doing business with
Delaware-regulated gambling sites is the expanded choice of payment options.

Contact Customer Support

Contact customer service by live chat or email
with a simple question. This could be as simple as asking where to locate the
deposit options. The idea of contacting customer support here isn’t necessarily
to get a question answered, but to see how quickly and professionally they
respond to you.

More Gambling Laws in Delaware

  • Casino Games (Legal)
  • Sports Betting (Legal)
  • Race Betting (Legal, Horse Racing Only)
  • Lottery (Legal)
  • Bingo (Legal)
  • Social Gambling (Illegal)

Article 2, section 17 under the Delaware State Constitution states:

“All forms of gambling are prohibited in this State except the following:

(a) Lotteries under State control for the purpose of raising funds,

(b) Lotteries (other than slot machines, roulette, craps and baccarat games)
provided that each is sponsored and conducted under the limitations of Section
17B by companies, organizations or societies which have been in existence for at
least 2 years; provided, however, that no person who shall not have attained the
age of 18 years shall participate in any lottery (where money is the prize)
otherwise authorized by the article,

(c) Wagering or betting by the use of pari-mutuel machines or totalizators on
horse races conducted at racetracks within or without the State, provided that
such wagering or betting may be conducted only either:

(1) within the enclosure of any racetrack licensed under the laws of the
State to conduct a race meeting, or (2) within the enclosure of any
racetrack licensed under the laws of the State to receive and accept wagers or
bets on electronically televised simulcasts of horse races.

(d) Bingo games as conducted under the limitations of Section 17A.”

Almost all forms of gambling are legal in Delaware. The state has qualified
them as lotteries that help provide state funds and provide jobs to Delaware
citizens.

Casino Games: Legal


Table games became legal in Delaware in 2009, and can be found at the three
racetrack casino hybrids in the state. So far, table games have pulled in over a
million dollars worth of state shares a month in 2017.

According to the Delaware Lottery Games website, here’s how table game
revenue is distributed:

“66.1% of the revenue is paid to the three tracks as commissions for operating
the games. 29.4% is contributed to the State General Fund to help pay for state
services. 4.5% goes toward increasing the size of the horse race purses.

Video lottery or slot machines located at the casinos have contributed over 2
billion dollars to the General Fund. Each machine is required by law to return
between 87%-95% of all wagers annually.”

According to the Delaware Lottery Games website, this is how the revenue from
video lottery games is distributed in Delaware:

“Approximately 42% of the revenue is paid to the three tracks as commissions
for operating the games. Approximately 40% is contributed to the State General
Fund to help pay for state services. Approximately 10% goes toward increasing
the size of the horse race purses. Approximately 7% goes toward leasing,
servicing and upgrading the games, and for monitoring the games with the
Lottery’s central computer system.”

Games that can be found at these casinos include:

  • Blackjack
  • Roulette
  • Craps
  • Texas holdem
  • Three card poker
  • Four card poker
  • Pai Gow poker
  • Mississippi stud
  • Video poker
  • Keno
  • Slot machines

Sports betting: Legal


Sports betting became legal in 2009 (the same year Delaware legalized table
games).

Sportsbooks can be found at all three casinos in the state, plus some retail
sites, but they are limited to Pro Football Parlay Card Wagering, and must have
three or more individual games per wager.

Retail sites can range from restaurants to convenience stores. There are
close to 100 retail sportsbooks across Delaware.

According to the Delaware Lottery Sports Book Wagering Rules on the Delaware
Lottery Games website:

“All wagers must be parlays consisting of three or more individual games. In
the event that less than three games remain because a games is canceled or not
played, those wagers will be refunded. In the event those games are played but
there is a wagering tie, those games are “Action” (a valid bet).”

Race betting: Legal, horse racing only


Pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing is allowed.

Casino Delaware Park explains horse race betting as:

“A wager on a horse race is very different than many other forms of gambling.
Horse racing payoffs are calculated on a Pari-mutuel basis. Basically this means
that the house (the racetrack) does not care who wins a given race. The odds on
each horse to win are determined by what proportion of the total money wagered
is placed on that horse. The racetrack handles the money, keeps a percentage or
commission, and calculates the horses’ odds based on the public’s preferences.
The remaining money is then paid back to the players who hold winning ticket.”

Greyhound dog racing is prohibited in Delaware.

Lottery: Legal


Delaware has a state regulated lottery.

Games include:

  • Keno
  • Powerball
  • Hot Lotto
  • Mega Millions
  • Multi Win Lotto
  • Play 3
  • Play 4
  • Instant Games
  • Lucky For Life

Bingo: Legal


Bingo in Delaware originally was charitable-only, but now all bingo is legal
and regulated. Bingo halls can be found throughout Delaware.

Social gambling: Illegal


No written laws in Delaware specifically say social gambling is illegal, but
according to the Delaware State Constitution, all gambling is illegal unless
it’s state-regulated in some way.

Gambling Venues in Delaware

Delaware Map

    1) Delaware Park Racetrack & Casino

    777 Delaware Park Blvd

    Wilmington, DE 19804

    (302) 994-2521

    2) Dover Downs Hotel & Casino

    1131 N Dupont Hwy

    Dover, DE 19901

    (302) 674-4600

    3) Harrington Raceway & Casino

    18500 S Dupont Hwy

    Harrington, DE 19952

    (302) 389-4920

History of Gambling in Delaware

1760

The first racetrack in Delaware opens with no official betting.

1933

The Delaware Racing Commission is created to oversee the legalized betting at horse racing tracks. Legalized betting is introduced to generate revenue lost during the Great Depression.

1935

The first licenses for on-track betting and pari-mutuel pooled betting machines are awarded

1937

Delaware Park opens.

1957

The bingo commission is formed to oversee bingo games for charity organizations.

1981

The Delaware Gaming Control Board is formed to oversee gambling of all forms

1986

The Delaware Gaming Control Board changes its name to the Division of Business and Professional Regulation.

1996

The first video lottery machine is introduced.

2009

Casino table games and sports betting are legalized. A Federal Act is signed that limits betting on pro sports to NFL parlays.

2012

Delaware legalizes online gambling for licensed sites within the state border. Delaware is the first state to license online gambling.

2013

The first licenses are given to Delaware Park, Harrington’s Raceway, and Dover Downs to go live on a common platform for online gambling.

2014

Delaware and Nevada sign an intra-state-liquidity sharing deal that allows residents from each state to play each other’s licensed poker sites.

Additional Resources

  • Delaware Lottery Games website
  • The Delaware Lottery Games website has information about the state lottery,
    table games, video lottery, sports lottery and iGaming.

The Future & Your Views

Dog racing, daily fantasy sports and social gaming are the only main types of
gambling that Delaware has placed restrictions on or outlawed.

We don’t see Delaware legalizing dog racing any time soon because it’s
outlawed in most states. Dog racing is a dying sport, so it wouldn’t be
surprising to see it outlawed in all states one day.

Given the small size of Delaware along with the three casinos in the state,
residents are never far from a place to gamble. Table games, sportsbooks and
video lottery machines are all legal at these casinos.

If you don’t want to make a trip to the casinos, you can access Delaware
gambling sites through the three casinos’ web sites. You can also legally access
Nevada’s gambling sites. Delaware gambling sites offer most of the games you can
find in their casinos, and are available in a mobile app for you too, so you can
gamble on the go.

Overall, we don’t see much change coming to Delaware’s gambling laws since
most gambling is already legal there. A push to legalize daily fantasy sports
has been made, but any progress has yet to be seen.