Delaware Online Poker
Delaware is among three of the States in the USA where online poker is completely legal, thanks to a bill passed in the First State in 2012.You currently need to be a Delaware resident to play, and IP verification is in place to ensure no one can access the legal online poker sites from outside state boundaries.
Living up to its motto of ‘Liberty and Independence’, Delaware may be one of the smallest states in the US but it is one of the more progressive as far as legal online poker is concerned. This is somewhat surprising, given that the state lottery in the First State was established just 40 years ago in 1974. However the intervening period has seen the licensing of racetracks and the growth of a sports betting environment, meaning with the recent decision to make poker legal Delaware has kept in line with its increased openness to gambling.
In the race for the first legal poker sites Delaware had looked to be leading the way for a while, with legislation not taking very long at all to make it through the state’s law-making process. The supportiveness of Governor Jack Markell meant Delaware became only the second state to legalise some form of online gambling in 2012, and the best poker sites in Delaware were up and running in 2013.
As well as legal online poker Delaware allows a selection of other online gambling games under the terms of its legislation. These include blackjack, slots, and online lottery ticket purchases, giving residents of Delaware plenty of choice as far as legal online gaming is concerned.
Does Delaware have enough players to support online poker?
Delaware is one of the smaller States in the USA, with a population of just under one million, and there are few ‘big name’ online poker pros. Indeed only one player from the First State, former World Series of Poker Circuit champion Abraham Korotki, has more than $1m in lifetime earnings from live poker tournaments. This may make it difficult to establish a large pool of online poker players to begin with, however there are not too many sites at the moment so the player pool will hopefully not be spread too thin. In addition, there has been talk of online poker ‘compacts’, the most likely of this would see Delaware combine liquidity wit Nevada.
Could shared liquidity happen any time soon?
Earlier this year, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval targeted this summer for the pooling of online poker liquidity between legal poker sites in Nevada and Delaware, following an agreement announced earlier in 2018. We are yet to see New Jersey join the party, but this is still positive news for online poker players in Delaware who want to pit their wits against players from elsewhere in the States in bigger and better tournaments.
How will online play affect land-based gambling?
The legal poker sites in Delaware are dwarfed by the blossoming land-based poker environment, which is dominated by the state lottery and the Dover Downs casino. In addition, with online poker in Delaware regulated by the state’s lottery and tied to the sites run by the three Delaware casinos, land-based interests are being looked after.
Could offshore operators enter the Delaware poker market?
There are no plans at present to expand beyond the three legal poker sites Delaware offers under the branding of the First State’s land-based casinos. In addition, it seems unlikely that any offshore operator will heavily prioritise the Delaware online poker market in its current guise due to its extremely small size, though the pooling of liquidity with other states could change this.