Guide to delaware online poker

The First State has legalized all three card rooms and there are now three operational sites offering a variety of cash games, tournaments and series. Delaware also shares player pools with Nevada and New Jersey. 

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In this quick guide we’ve outlined everything you need to know about online poker in Delaware including the best sites to play on, a breakdown of laws and regulations, and an outlook for the future of iPoker in the state.

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Current Legal Status of Online Poker in Delaware

Online poker in Delaware has been a long time coming but it’s finally gaining momentum and there are now some solid options for players in the state. The journey began in 2011 when DE became the first state to pass regulations covering all aspects of online gaming including tax rates, server location and intrastate-only play. This opened the door for 888Poker to launch Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway and Dover Downs under the 888Poker network.

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The only competition at the time came from STN Sports, which partnered with Delaware Skill Games (DSG) to offer online poker in the state. However, issues with liquidity and payments forced DSG to shut down its online operation in May 2014 and merge its player accounts to 888Poker. From that moment onwards, Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway and Dover Downs have been the only licensed poker sites in the state. Although, they did get some extra traffic when Nevada launched in 2013 and the three states combined resources to create the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA). 

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This agreement allowed operators to share player pools across state lines for big tournaments such as the Delaware Punkin Chunkin each fall and the WSOP Summer tournament series. In recent years Delaware has slipped down the rankings in terms of revenue due to the closure of STN Sports and the decline in poker nationwide. However, there’s still hope that more casinos will join the party and close the gap on leaders the Golden Nugget in New Jersey and Venetian in Nevada. 

Can You Play Online Poker in Delaware?

Yes, if you live in Delaware or are visiting, you can play real money poker on one of the three state-licensed sites – or on if you’re visiting from Nevada or New Jersey thanks to the multi-state gaming agreement. To play you must be 21+ years old and located within the state. The site will use geo-location software to verify your location and prevent you from using the software if you’re not within state lines. 

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Delaware’s Legal Gambling History

Delaware has always been forward thinking when it comes to gambling law and was one of the few states that offered sports betting in the past (before PASPA was struck down). It was therefore no surprise that Delaware was among the first batch of states to regulate online gambling when UIGEA was introduced in 2006. Unlike most other states, however, Delaware chose to take control rather than ban online gambling altogether. Governor Jack Markell signed HB333 into law on June 29, 2012 and the Delaware Lottery was chosen to oversee and regulate all forms of iGaming. 

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The lottery developed regulations that covered all bases, from game types and taxes to responsible gaming and player protection. These regulations were approved by the Department of Justice (thanks to a revised opinion on the Wire Act in 2011), and DE became the first state to offer full-scale, government-backed online gaming sites in November 2013. A year later, DE would once again lead the way and become the first state to offer legally licensed poker across shared liquidity compacts with other states. 

Delaware Online Poker Laws

All online poker sites in Delaware are licensed by the Delaware Lottery and all revenue is paid to the state’s general fund - with the exception of table games, which goes to the General Fund and the Delaware Council on Gambling Problems. These are the only government licensed Delaware poker sites and any others you may find are operating illegally and may not be safe. 

Delaware Online Poker Taxes

All revenues generated through poker and casino games are subject to a 35% tax rate that goes to the state’s general fund. However, revenues from table games is split between the operator and the Delaware Council on Gambling Problems. 

Delaware Online Poker Bonuses and Promotions

Online poker sites in Delaware are able to offer a range of bonuses and promotions, including deposit matches, free tournament entries and bonus dollars released in increments when you play. All offers come with terms and conditions regarding clearance rates and while they can differ, you’ll usually have to earn three to five times the value of the bonus before it hits your cashable balance. 

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Delaware Poker Liquidity Sharing Pact

One of the key factors that made Delaware an early pioneer in US poker history was its willingness to offer all forms of iGaming (poker, casino and lotto) and its ambitious approach to liquidity sharing pacts. As part of its detailed legislation (HB333), the state pushed for the right to enter liquidity sharing pacts with other states and this ambition paid off in 2014 when Delaware entered into an agreement with Nevada. This deal enabled 888poker and NV to share their player pools and created the biggest legal poker site in the US at the time. 

When New Jersey launched in 2016, Delaware missed the chance to extend MSIGA to a third state. However, the Garden State quickly filled the void and formed a north/ south agreement. When Delaware finally amended its iGaming regulation in June 2018, the door was open for another attempt to expand liquidity. This time it worked and, in 2019, Delaware joined MSIGA alongside Nevada and New Jersey. This move not solety boosted player liquidity and revenue, but made the biggest legal poker site in the US. 

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As things stand, MSIGA allows operators to share player pools for cash games and tournaments. However, the agreement doesn’t stretch to online poker rewards programs or shop features like NV and NJ’s “Combine” option, which allows players to combine their accounts and share rewards and cashout options. It’s unclear whether these features will ever be added to MSIGA but, if they were, it would make the network truly formidable. 

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Which Cities in Delaware Offer Online Poker?

Anyone within the state of Delaware can play online poker as long as they are 21+ and using the software within the state lines. This means you don’t have to live in a particular city or even Delaware to play - you just can’t use the software within other states. 

Legalized Gambling in Delaware

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Recommended Online Poker Rooms in Delaware 2023

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There are currently three state-licensed online poker sites in operation in Delaware: Delaware Park Poker, Bally’s Delaware Poker and Zynga-branded app at Harrington Raceway. Of the three, Delaware Park tends to be the busiest and offers the highest volume cash games and the most lucrative tournaments. Traffic dips slightly at Bally’s Delaware and Harrington Raceway but, because they share 888Poker software, they merge player pools for tournaments where possible to create bigger prizes. 

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Generally cash game traffic hovers around 100 active players during peak hours with the majority playing NLHE and a small selection of PLO tables available. Tournament fields are generally low too, making it a great place for beginners and aspiring MTT specialists. One nice feature of the Delaware online poker scene is that the three sites sometimes merge tournaments series where players can compete for overall leaderboards wins and prizes. Outside of these events, it can be hard to come by local cash game action and tourneys may struggle to run HTGOs (high traffic, guaranteed tournaments), so the action can be a little limited at times. 

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Over in Nevada, typically has three to four times more active players and can offer higher stakes cash games and much bigger tournament guarantees. Therefore, if you want more action and a stronger test bed, we’d recommend giving NV a try. However, if you want to play for lower stakes and the novelty of knowing you’re playing against locals isn’t an issue, Delaware’s three state-licensed sites could be perfect. 

Delaware Online Casinos and Poker Rooms

Delaware Park Poker – This site has the largest network of land-based casinos and, as a result, potentially the largest player pool in the state. The software is provided by 888 and tends to offer more MTTs than other sites.

Bally’s Delaware Park – Like Delaware Park, this site benefits from being linked to a large land based casino. The difference with Bally’s is that it’s powered by the Scientific Games (SG) software, which some players prefer.

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Harrington Raceway – This final site is also powered by SG and, more importantly, comes branded as the WSOP Poker website for Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada. That means you can play on the same software as NV and NJ, with the same themes and cards animations. The only catch is that you cannot use your Delaware account to play in WSOP events such as the World Series itself or the Spring Online Championships. Instead you’ll need to live or be visiting New Jersey or Nevada to play those tournaments. 

The Future of Online Poker in DE

It remains to be seen whether any more brick and mortar casinos will dip their toes into the online poker realm. However, it’s encouraging to see all three existing sites offering LIQUID Y and benefiting from the additional player traffic. Indeed, when Delaware amended its legislation in 2018, it explicitly left space for further casinos to apply for an iGaming license and pay $125,000 to integrate their land based business. Moreover, the rules regarding liquidity sharing pacts are favorable and Delaware could look to add more states to its compact in the future. 

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For players, the main change on the horizon could be increased competition and revenue. MyDigitalSPY found in a survey that only 7% of Delaware residents gambled online in 019 and, of those, 44% played poker. Extrapolating that data across the state suggests there could be nearly 90,000 potential Delaware poker players. Currently, the three sites in operation have barely broken 100 active players at peak times. So myDigitalSPY’s figures suggest there is plenty of untapped potential in the state. 

Another key change affecting DE players came in March 2020, when the Federal Wire Act was clarified once again. Under new guidelines, state lotteries and their iGaming partners will be able to offer multi-state poker compacts and maybe even VERY large interstate lottery draws. How long it takes state legislators and regulators to implement these changes is anyone’s guess. However, what we do know is that online poker in Delaware will remain a relatively safe, legal place to enjoy some cash games and tournaments against your fellow locals. And, with the prospect of more casinos entering the fray and connective to larger player pools via MSIGA, the quality of games and revenue should increase accordingly. 

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