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.
What is offshore gambling and is it legal in Delaware? How do I choose a good online gaming site?
WWhat makes a good gambling site for a Delaware resident? More Gambling Laws in Delaware
Breaking down what exactly is or isn't legal in Delaware. Gambling Venues in Delaware
Where to gamble in the state of Delaware. The History of Gaming Laws in Delaware
A brief history of Delaware laws regarding gambling. The Furture of Gambling in Delaware
What does the future of gambling look like in Delaware?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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:
- Texas holdem
- Three card poker
- Four card poker
- Pai Gow poker
- Mississippi stud
- Video poker
- 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.
Delaware has a state regulated lottery.
- Hot Lotto
- Mega Millions
- Multi Win Lotto
- Play 3
- Play 4
- Instant Games
- Lucky For Life
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
1. Delaware Park Racetrack & Casino
777 Delaware Park Blvd
Wilmington, DE 19804
2. Dover Downs Hotel & Casino
1131 N Dupont Hwy
Dover, DE 19901
3. Harrington Raceway & Casino
18500 S Dupont Hwy
Harrington, DE 19952
History of Gambling in Delaware
The first racetrack in Delaware opens with no official betting.
The first licenses for on-track betting and pari-mutuel pooled betting machines are awarded.
The bingo commission is formed to oversee bingo games for charity organizations.
The Delaware Gaming Control Board changes its name to the Division of Business and Professional Regulation.
The first video lottery machine is introduced.
Delaware legalizes online gambling for licensed sites within the state border. Delaware is the first state to license online gambling.
The first licenses are given to Delaware Park, Harrington's Raceway, and Dover Downs to go live on a common platform for online gambling.
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.
Delaware Park opens.
The Delaware Gaming Control Board is formed to oversee gambling of all forms.
Casino table games and sports betting are legalized. A Federal Act is signed that limits betting on pro sports to NFL parlays.
Delaware and Nevada sign an intra-state-liquidity sharing deal that allows residents from each state to play each other's licensed poker sites.
- 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.