Delaware’s online gambling offerings will revolve around the primary vendor selected to head the state’s Internet gambling regime set to launch this fall.
Fourteen companies have thrown their hats into the ring by submitting bids in response to Delaware’s Request for Proposal that had a filing deadline of March 14, 2013. Although all 14 companies hope to participate one way or another in the First State’s plan, the real winner will be the gaming company chosen as the primary vendor who will have the privilege of recommending additional vendors selected by the Delaware Lottery to be part of the scheme.
Delaware’s plan is to offer keno, video lottery games, bingo, casino table games, and poker. As such, it appears that only a trio of applicants have the online gaming experience and technology to be considered for the plum role of primary vendor. Those three are International Game Technology (IGT), the jointly filed tandem of Amaya Gaming and Bally Technologies, and the triumverate partnership of Scientific Games, WMS Gaming and 888 Holdings.
Of those three, industry insiders have been speculating that the Scientific Games partnership has the best chance of landing the primary vendor title considering its existing presence in Delaware as a provider of the system that runs the Delaware Lottery. Obviously, that relationship with state gaming officials will be looked upon favorably during the scrutinization of applicants in determining who will best be able to provide the ultimate solutions for the primary vendor gig.
Much has been made of the fact that PokerStars, under the umbrella of the Rational Group, is one of the 14 applicants hoping to be given the opportunity to offer their online poker product in Delaware. They, along with the other 10 applicants that include SHFL Entertainment and Stan James, will hope to find a niche in Delaware’s online gambling strategy.
PokerStars knows poker, as is evidenced by their dominance in the current online poker marketplace. Whether or not that dominance was achieved as a result of PokerStars continuing to operate in the U.S. market following the enactment of the UIGEA in 2006 is certainly a matter of debate. It will be up to Delaware Lottery officials to determine if PokerStars commited infractions that fall under the guise of “bad actor,” as the American Gaming Association is vehemently arguing in New Jersey.
The primary vendor chosen by Delaware gaming officials will undoubtedly have considerable input in deciding which of the other applicants will be an asset to the overall online gambling regime. And if Scientific Games manages to be tabbed as the primary vendor as many speculate, the chances of PokerStars winning approval would seem to look dim considering that 888 Holdings, as part of the partnership with Scientific Games and currently operating the fifth-ranked online poker room, 888Poker, would certainly vote against the inclusion of PokerStars in Delaware.