Delaware is something of an odd choice to be at the forefront of online gambling in the United States. It is a small, unassuming state best known for its strategic advantages in the area of incorporating a business and for being the home state of President Joe Biden.
It is also home to three racinos, which in and of itself is a pretty small number. But remember, this is Delaware, not Alaska. And in contrast to its reputation and its gradual foray into casino-style gambling, Delaware online gambling is a big part of the small state. The Delaware Lottery, as of 2012, oversees three online casinos, three online poker sites, and a robust online lottery.
Delaware was the only state other than Nevada and New Jersey to have legal online gambling in any form until Pennsylvania joined the list in 2017. In fact, it was the first to do so in 2012, beating the two usual suspects. So what is there to know about gambling in The First State? We are here to help you navigate it all, so read on for more about Delaware gambling.
Can you gamble online in Delaware?
Yes, there is legal online gambling in Delaware. Each of the three land-based racinos — Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway — are licensed to offer their own branded online gambling sites, with everything under a unified system managed by Scientific Games and 888 Holdings.
Technically, Delaware also legalized online sportsbooks, but none are active in the state yet. William Hill operates retail sports betting in Delaware.
Are online casinos legal in Delaware?
You bet. Within the online gambling system, Delaware’s law actually allows for a quite broad interpretation of what can be offered. The director of the Delaware Department of Gaming Enforcement has, by law, quite a bit of latitude to decide the range of offerings, and the current holder of that position has not been eager to exclude anything.
So, Delaware residents enjoy a favorable set of options for online casino play in Delaware.
Can you play online poker in Delaware?
Yes, you can play online poker in Delaware. Online poker was legalized in 2012 and is regulated by the state lottery. All three racinos operate an online poker site alongside their individually branded online casinos with a unified system operated by 888.
Delaware is also part of the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement. This means poker players in the state can compete against players from Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
Who regulates online gambling in Delaware?
All gambling in the state is regulated by the Delaware Lottery. Online gambling includes internet lottery tickets, online slots, online table games, and online poker. In fact, the DE Lottery contracts with 888 and Scientific Games (and William Hill for sports betting). The racinos offer the corresponding brands available in the state.
What is the legal gambling age in Delaware?
The minimum age for all online gambling is 21 years old. To place bets on horse racing, the minimum age is 18 years old.
Legal online gambling vs. offshore sites
Delaware only provides three legal online casino and poker sites in partnership with the three racinos in that state. However, there are unregulated offshore betting sites in the state. These websites operate outside of the US and thus are not subject to US laws.
At the end of the day, safety should be a top priority especially when it comes to your personal information. Much like everywhere in the US, customers must provide private information like their Social Security number, date of birth, and email address to sign up for an online gambling account.
There is no way of knowing what an offshore account will do with the information you provide them, or if your winnings will be stolen from you. An offshore gambling site that accepts players from Delaware is not regulated by the Delaware Lottery, either. Your safest bet is to play on the three racino sites operated by the lottery.
How online casinos work in Delaware
Online casinos function very easily in Delaware, though initially it can be confusing. It is essentially a single-operator system showcased in three individual online gambling sites. Each of the state’s three racinos, in partnership with Scientific Games and 888, provide one branded app apiece.
There is one app each for Delaware Park, Dover Downs, and Harrington Raceway. Through these apps, customers have access to online slots, online table games, and online poker.
Delaware taxes online casinos and poker sites at 62.5%.
Types of legal gambling in Delaware
Gambling online is obviously a big deal in Delaware, but it’s not the only deal. Delaware has just three land-based casinos. In a vacuum, this sounds like a tentative number for a state to license, but considering that Delaware is less than 2,500 square miles in area and has less than one million total residents, three casinos is a solid presence. All three are racinos, gambling venues that contain a racetrack, which supports Delaware’s long history of horse racing.
But since they are casinos they also contain slot machines and table games. Each has more than 2,000 slot machines for play. In a quirky twist, all slot machines in Delaware are technically video lottery terminals, meaning that their operation is overseen by the Delaware Lottery, and taxes from their operation feed into state funds via the lottery’s contributions.
Each of these casinos or racinos offer slot machines, live table games like blackjack, craps, roulette, and pai gow, and both a poker room for cash play and a poker tournament room. There is also a retail sportsbook on-site at each of the racinos. Sportsbooks in Delaware are a partnership with William Hill.
Racinos in Delaware
Delaware Park Racetrack
- Address: 777 Delaware Park Blvd.
- Location: Wilmington, DE 19804
- Phone: 800-417-5687
- Operator/Owner: Delaware Park LLC
- Year Opened: 1937
Located just outside of Wilmington, Delaware Park is the only thoroughbred horse racing track in the state. Races are run from May through October. The casino includes more than 2,300 slot machines and two poker rooms.
Dover Downs Hotel & Casino
- Address: 1131 North DuPont Highway
- Location: Dover, DE 19901
- Phone: 800-772-7777
- Operator/Owner: Bally’s Corporation
- Year Opened: 1969
At one point in time, Dover Downs was just a horse track and speedway. It is now also home to a hotel and casino with more than 2,300 slots and an 18-table poker room. While the bulk of the property is operated by Bally’s, the speedway is still a property of Dover Motorsports.
Harrington Raceway & Casino
- Address: 18500 S Dupont Hwy
- Location: Harrington, DE 19952
- Phone: 302-398-4920
- Operator/Owner: Harrington Raceway Inc.
- Year Opened: 1920
Harrington is a racetrack and casino located near the Delaware State Fair. It was originally just a harness racing track until the slot parlor (Midway Slots) opened in 1996. Table games were added in 2010. The management deal between Harrrington and Midway ended a year late, after which the property was renamed Harrington Casino & Raceway.
Delaware horse racing
As noted, horse racing is a significant part of Delaware. All three of the state’s racetracks have racebooks and sportsbooks. Delaware Park is a thoroughbred track, while both Harrington Raceway and Dover Downs are harness tracks.
All three also offer off-track betting of simulcast races seven days a week. They are the only authorized OTB locations in the state.
Online horse betting sites also accept customers from Delaware. Some of the more popular include:
History of gambling in Delaware
Delaware’s move toward land-based gambling has been a gradual progression, rather than a full-bore sprint toward legalization. Dating back to 1933, the state legislature created a racing commission, and through numerous legislative sessions, the state has slowly increased the prominence of gambling and online gambling. In doing so, gambling has become the state’s fourth-largest source of revenue. Here are a few key dates in the transformation of Delaware gambling.
- 2018: Delaware becomes the first state outside Nevada to begin full-scale sports betting. The first bet is made on June 5, just two weeks before New Jersey sports betting kicks into gear.
- 2012: Gov. Jack Markell signs Delaware Gaming Competitiveness Act into law allowing the state lottery to offer online gambling options such as lotto tickets, table games, and online slots.
- 2009: Markell makes an initial attempt to expand gambling laws to offer full-scale sports betting. However, the US Supreme Court declines to hear the state’s arguments.
- 1975: The Delaware Lottery is established.
- 1933: The state Legislature creates a racing commission. Over the years, it evolves into two separate commissions that work in tandem: the Delaware Harness Racing Commission and the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission.
With such a robust online gambling and racing history, Delaware is no stranger to problem gambling. As such, the Delaware Council on Gambling Problems is a nonprofit agency dedicated to education and advocacy of problem gambling. You can reach the agency 24/7 via their helpline at 888-850-8888.
The DE Lottery also provides a Self Exclusion Program for iGaming, video lottery terminals, and table games.
Nationally, of course, there are two resources available for problem gambling help and advice, each of which offers a Delaware-based service: