Following a successful soft launch during the past week, Delaware is now accepting real-money wagers for online poker and casino games.
The state becomes the first in the U.S. to offer Internet casino action in conjunction with online poker. Nevada was the first to go live with Internet poker back in April, but that state is restricted to poker-only and did not include casino games in its online gambling legislation.
Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway and Dover Downs flipped on the real-money virtual switch to Delaware residents and those visiting the state early this morning, provided that the online gamblers are of legal age. Safeguards have been established to keep minors and those previously identified as problem gamblers from accessing the sites.
Online slots, blackjack, roulette and poker are the games available to Delawareans. The sites are being operated by Delaware’s three ‘racinos’ or racetrack casinos under the watchful eye of the Delaware Lottery. A consortium of Scientific Games, 888 Holdings, and WMS Interactive (a Scientific Games subsidiary) is the primary vendor providing the gaming platforms.
Delaware beat New Jersey in the race to be the first online casino gambling state by 18 days. That is, of course, provided that New Jersey’s November 26 launch goes off as projected. Things do seem to be on pace to achieve that aggressive launch date in New Jersey, as five of the state’s 12 casinos have received online gambling operator permits. More than four dozen other gaming-related companies have been cleared to provide ancillary and vendor services to those site operators.
Delaware’s miniscule population of some 917,000 is not conducive to a viable online poker scheme. For that reason, expect The First State to team up with Nevada shortly in an interstate compact agreement in order to increase player liquidity for both states. New Jersey and its population of 9 million will likely eventually be asked to join as well.
Interstate compact agreements may be a bit tricky at first, considering that each state has enacted its own rates of taxation. However, where there’s a will there’s a way, and the success of online poker throughout the U.S. depends upon successful collaboration among states.
Delaware Lottery officials anticipate revenue from their online gambling endeavor to reach only $5 million in the first year of operation. New Jersey, meanwhile, has pegged its take to be well over $200 million. Both, however, are hoping that the availability of online casino gambling will not keep gamblers from finding their way to the land-based casinos.
Delaware is aiming its Internet gambling marketing at the 20-something crowd to whom the Internet has been available practically all of their lives. Older folk who can still remember black and white television sets and pay telephones on street corners are expected to continue favoring brick and mortar casinos over clicking their mouses.
Known as ‘The First State’ for ratifying the U.S. Constitution in 1787 before any other state, Delaware will also now be known for being first to offer online casino gambling. It’s a historic step in the right direction for gamblers who enjoy placing wagers from the comfort of their own homes.
However, that will also include players on the go, as gaming via mobile devices will likely be an integral part of Delaware’s online gambling regime. The same holds true for New Jersey and other states who eventually join the online gambling regulation party.