There really are not too many casinos to speak of in Delaware. When it comes down to it, the reason for so few brick and mortar gambling sites in the state is because, quite simply, there isn’t the market for it. Delaware is, in and of itself, a small state; the second smallest in the US, in fact.
What’s more, just about every single one of Delaware’s neighboring states (Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey) have legalized casino operations. In essence, it is far more likely that gamblers from out of state will remain at casinos in their home state while Delaware simply does not have enough people to be able to support a plethora of brick and mortar casinos.
Still, with all this being said, there are 4 dedicated gambling destinations in the state. Located in 3 different cities, you are really never too far from the action in Delaware.
Delaware Online Casinos
According to the Delaware Constitution, the state holds a monopoly over real money gambling, which means that unlicensed gambling is illegal and is considered a misdemeanor. Delaware-licensed gambling sites are controlled by Delaware State Lottery and tied to the local racetrack-casinos: Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway, and Dover Downs. The software that powers all of those sites has been designed by seasoned developers from Scientific Games and 888.
If you’d like to play different games designed by other casino software companies, offshore sites are your only option. It’s worth pointing out that even though state officials don’t prosecute offshore site customers, it’s hard to say for sure whether joining them is 100% legal or not, as the relevant regulations remain somewhat ambiguous despite being updated in the recent past.
Delaware residents have the option to play at legal, state-regulated online casinos. Those casinos have been well-designed and offer a wide selection of games, but there’s no denying the fact that they’ve been made by a single developer – in the end, many players go for offshore sites just for the sake of variety.
When it comes to poker, offshore networks are the only available option. If you don’t want to waste your time on mediocre poker rooms, you should go for high-traffic networks, as they offer better tournaments and cash games. If you’re looking for a sports betting site, your best bet would be to compare several high-profile sportsbooks in terms of prices, event coverage and live in-play options.
A state that’s known for its liberal views on gambling, Delaware was second to Nevada to operate any type of gambling site and is one of 3 states overall to have passed legislation to make online gambling legal. The Gaming Competitiveness Act was signed in June of 2012, taking effect in late 2013. The act legalized games like the lottery, online poker, and casino games.
The Delaware Lottery Commission is in charge of overseeing online gambling. The only participants allowed are those within Delaware borders but you do not have to be a Delaware resident. The state just wants to ensure its competitors they are only playing against people also in Delaware. If a resident of Delaware goes out of state and tries to use their account they will be rejected. Determining where any would-be gambling participant is operating from is done using advanced geolocation software.
The Wire Act
There was some controversy regarding the fact The Interstate Wire Act had been passed since 1961, causing concern as to how this might affect online gambling laws. The Wire Act was aimed to prevent certain types of betting business being done in the United States. However, the Department of Justice determined in September of 2011 that the Wire Act was meant for sports betting, thus paving the way for online gambling.
There is one significant exception as to who can compete against other Delaware gamblers. An important moment for online gambling history took place when Nevada and Delaware banded together to sign an agreement allowing players in each state to gamble against each other. For starters, the only game allowed was poker but with the intent of allowing more games in the future.
Since there is no limit as to which other states may join the agreement, this has at least created an opening for online gambling to completely stamp itself in the United States, something many citizens have been clamoring to see for quite some time. Each state that would want to join is authorized to regulate Internet gambling in accordance with its laws and would only have to meet minimum regulatory standards. No other states have joined in on the online gambling fun yet, but it is nice to at least know the potential is there.
Delaware Online Gambling
The 3 popular brick and mortar casino and horse racing tracks there are Dover Downs, Harrington Raceway, and Delaware Park. Delaware became the first state to license complete Internet casinos and these 3 land casinos were the ones providing a full slate of online casino games for their players to choose from.
Each of the 3 sites is constructed almost exactly the same way. Even though these brick and mortar casinos are also known as “racinos” because of their popularity for horse racing, you cannot bet any of the races at any of the sites. What you can bet on are a wide variety of slot games. They also offer video poker along with traditional versions of Blackjack. Their Roulette section offers American, French, and European styles.
The rules and payouts are listed for both games along with the betting limits which are $1-$300. It also has a poker room with a page explaining how to play. The poker room must be downloaded and is only available on PC. The games are Texas Hold’em, 7 card stud hi and hi/lo along with Omaha hi and hi/lo offering limit, no limit, and pot limit varieties. You can place bets from a mobile device. Each site also specifies its disconnection policy for every game in the event your Internet loses connection and kicks you off while you are in the middle of a bet. They also offer a small and limited welcome bonuses for the poker room and the casino.
As said before there is no online sports betting. The only sports betting you can do must be done inside the casino and the options are limited to NFL only and must be done as a type of parlay.
The presentation of the sites is simple, making them seem all that exciting, but then again these are not major online casinos. And with Delaware being such a small state, it is not especially surprising the online casinos do not generate a ton of revenue to begin with.
They technically are not supposed to, but many of the online gaming sites around the world still accept business from the U.S. Since the citizens themselves cannot get into trouble for gambling online and the government isn’t going through the trouble to prevent other sites from accepting their business, Delaware citizens can always just gamble at the other sites should they ever want to be able to bet sports or just have more gambling and deposit/withdrawal options in general.
If you are looking to gamble at an offshore site, some of the top ones are Bovada, Bodog, and Sportsbetting.ag. Just always remain aware that if something goes wrong at one of the sites (like trying to get a payout) that you have little to no recourse, making gambling at an offshore site inherently risky. Delaware’s online casinos may not overwhelm you with selection or flash, but is nice to know since you can only gamble there by being within their boundaries that there is no way you will get screwed out of any money you rightfully won.
Deposit and withdrawal methods are limited to Mastercard, Visa, Neteller Visa, and bank transfers. Bank transfer payouts can be expedited for their VIP members. There are no options for Bitcoin or any cryptocurrency and there is no indication that is going to change.
Delaware Park Racetrack & Slots
The Delaware Poker Room
Harrington Raceway & Casino
Gambling in Delaware
Delaware is liberal with its gambling regulations, and traditional casinos are no exception. Legislation that may pave the way for more casinos to spring up in the future has been slowly moving through the courts. Although the population of Delaware is small compared to the neighboring states, its gambling scene is highly competitive. Casinos in Delaware pay a flat 29.4% tax rate, one of the highest tax rates in the US.
Delaware doesn’t have a large population, so many people are quite surprised when they realize how massive the local gambling market actually is. Delaware offers traditional casino games like slots, roulette, blackjack or baccarat, as well as pari-mutuel horse race wagering, parlay wagering on traditional sports and charity gaming events.
Delaware also operates its own lottery and allows local lotto enthusiasts to purchase their tickets online. The First State was actually second to pass online gambling regulations and launched its first intrastate iGaming sites on October 30 in 2013. However, Delaware managed to beat New Jersey when it comes to becoming the first state to offer regulated online casino games.
Currently, there are three major casino establishments in Delaware:
- Dover Downs located in Dover hosts the largest selection of games, with over 3,000 slot machines and 40+ table games
- Delaware Park situated in Wilmington features 2,500 slots and 60+ table games
- Harrington Casino located in Harrington offers ~1,800 slots and 40+ table games
Most gambling forms are permitted in the casinos, but players may not wager on Craps. Gambling in bowling alleys is also prohibited.
Delaware was the first state to legalize online gambling and one of three states which regulate iGaming operations. Players looking to access games such as online Blackjack and video poker can use our list of recommended online casinos to find excellent options.
Any veterans club that’s been operating for 75+ years may own and operate slot machines and video poker. Sixty percent of gambling proceeds generated in this way must be donated to approved charities.
Delaware residents may legally own slot machines older than 25 years as long as nobody profits from them
Types of Delaware Casinos
Being that there are only 4 total casinos in the state, there isn’t a whole lot of room for a wide variety of brick and mortar establishments. When it comes down to it, Delaware’s casino scene consists of 3 racinos and 1 poker room.
A racino is, quite simply, a casino that exists at a racetrack. In Delaware, this can mean either horse/dog tracks or the massive Monster Mile NASCAR speedway that exists in Dover. It is important to note that not all racinos are built similarly. While one may offer a full array of table games, video poker, and slots, another may only offer slot games in addition to wagering on the races of the day. In Delaware, you will find that the 3 racinos offer nice variety when it comes to the games they facilitate.
Delaware Poker Rooms
The Division of Business and Professional Regulation was founded during the late 2000s, and with it came the legalization of live poker games in Delaware. All three major casinos in the state host decent selections of live poker tables.
Delaware casinos with the most extensive poker table selections:
- Delaware Park, 40+ poker tables
- Dover Downs, 18 poker tables
- Harrington Casino, ten poker tables
Social games of poker are legal in Delaware as long as they are played in a private residence and the host does not generate revenue from it. Players located in this state can also access online poker.
As its name implies, a poker room hosts nothing other than poker games. While the dominant game is, more often than not, Texas Hold’em, there are a number of different games and variations that can take place in poker rooms.
Poker in Delaware is worth talking about because—apart from Atlantic City—Delaware was, for a time, the only other East Coast location where you could play live poker.
Delaware Park was the first Delaware poker room to open and offer live games in 2010. Initially, the room was always full with long waiting lists every day of the week. Eventually the opening of competing Pennsylvania Casinos, and then Maryland casinos, the action at Delaware Park was reduced significantly. Delaware Park does still have a poker room, though it has been downsized and moved to the other end of the casino.
Delaware Sportsbooks & Sports Betting
During the 1991 federal ban on sports betting, Delaware was one of four states exempted from the prohibition. Before the US Supreme Court’s decision to allow states to regulate sports gambling, Delaware didn’t offer much variety for sports wagering.
Today, Delaware rivals Nevada when it comes to sports gaming. In the summer of 2018, Delaware became the first state to take advantage of the Supreme Court ruling and expanded from three-team parlay bets – which required players to win on all the lines they bet on – to full-blown sports wagering. Single-bet wagers and future bets can now be placed at all three of Delaware’s major casinos.
Even though sports betting is available in Delaware there are unique restrictions that are worth taking note of. The three casinos in the state are able to facilitate sports betting, but so too are more than 30 other locations which are referred to as “retail” sites. The odd facet with sports betting at physical locations in Delaware is the fact that it is limited to wagering on the NFL.
Beyond this, the NFL wagering that is allowed to take place is of the parlay variety exclusively. In essence, a brick and mortar sports bettor in the state of Delaware is never allowed to wager on a single game. Instead, they must place a parlay of at least 2 games. Other than the NFL, however, sports betting is not able to exist legally. Though there have been attempts in the past, this is something that Delaware does not seem too keen on changing anytime in the near future.
eSports and fantasy gambling
It is unclear whether Delaware allows wagers on electronic sports (eSports). Several talks with eSports operators have been taking place, but legalization is still hazy. The rule of thumb is that if the Delaware iGaming Commision allows a gambling website to be accessed within the state, it is legal to make wagers on it.
In 2016, the Delaware Department of Justice prohibited real money wagers on daily fantasy sports (DFS) such as DraftKings and Fanduel. Since then, fantasy gaming has not been reintroduced.
Recently, House Bill 249 began to make its way through legislation channels, and it has been building momentum. HB 249 would reintroduce DFS gaming and allow popular operators to start collecting real money bets again. Once further revisions are made, the bill will be brought to the legislative floor.
Horse racing (and gambling on it) has been a part of the Delaware culture since the 1700s.
Delaware allows wagers on both horse and harness racing. Pari-mutuel wagers can be made off-track and on out-of-state horse races. The three casinos listed in the casino section are also Delaware’s three major horse racing tracks.
Horse racing and gambling are regulated by two separate entities – the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commision and the Delaware Harness Racing Commission.
The state’s law regulating betting on dog races is ambiguous. Greyhound racing is not hosted by any tracks in Delaware.
Delaware offers various multi-state lottery options, such as:
- Mega Millions
- Lucky for Life
- Lotto America
Delaware also provides several lottery game variations with its in-state lottery that can be accessed in stores and at video terminals. These games include:
- Play 3 and 4
- Multi-Win Lotto
Lottery winners can keep 45% of the prize money; 30% goes to the Delaware General Fund in the form of state taxes, and the remaining amount covers lottery administration and expenses. Players must claim their winnings within one year; otherwise, the money is forfeit.
When Bingo halls first opened up across Delaware, a single organization managed them all. Now, that organization has merged with the Division of Business and Professional Regulation.
Any business that is recognized as a charitable organization by the state of Delaware may host bingo events, which can include raffles and instant bingo tickets.
Delaware is home to many live bingo halls, including:
- Holy Cross Church located in Dover
- Elks Lodge located in Lewes
- Aetna Fire Hall located in Newark
- Fournier Hall located in Wilmington
- The VFW located in Seaford
History of Gambling in Delaware
Horse racing is something that is popular in Delaware and has been since before the United States was even officially founded as an independent nation. The first horse tracks date back to the middle of the 18th century. In the early days, gambling on the races was technically illegal, but a quick stroll around the grounds would reveal that patrons offered placed wagers in small groups amongst friends.
By the middle of the 1930s, betting that was once illegal became not only legal but extremely popular at horse tracks around the state. In fact, the creation of the Delaware Racing Commission in 1933 paved the way for a law that went into effect two years later. This law allowed not only for horse racing but for the playing of games of chance as well.
Since then, gambling has proven to be a major success in Delaware and is credited as being one of the tax-revenue leaders for the state. Even though there are no immediate plans to erect a bunch of new brick and mortar gambling sites, the ones that do exist are top performers and are rarely seen or heard to be struggling financially.
Gambling has gone over so well in Delaware that the state even recently moved to allow for legalized online gambling. Though online gambling is not strictly illegal in most states, it is not strictly legal either. Delaware, along with Nevada, moved to be the first two states to approve the creation of an intrastate online casino network. The casinos in this network were able to provide every casino game you can think of, but needed to submit to state regulation and, of course, pay taxes. Since the first legal Delaware online casinos went live back in 2013, the intrastate network has been nothing short of massive success. So much so that a handful of other states are currently working on passing legislation to set up online casino networks of their own.
Delaware may not be known as one of the United States’ premier gambling destinations, but it is assuredly a great place that is extremely friendly to gamblers of all types.
Delaware Online Gambling FAQ
How Do I Get Started?
Getting started isn’t all that hard, but you have to keep a few things in mind. Regulated Delaware sites require you to be physically present within the borders of the state when you sign up for an account, while most offshore sites allow you to register from anywhere in the US.
Furthermore, Delaware sites offer more deposit options, while offshore sites usually rely on credit card payments. Finally, you have to keep in mind that most sites will require you do a one-time identity check, which is necessary to prevent underage gambling and bonus abuse.
How Do I Get My Money if I Win?
Regardless of the type of site you pick, withdrawing your winnings won’t require a lot of effort. All you need to do is open the cashier menu, pick the banking method that you’d like to use and wait for the site’s staff to process your request, which usually takes less than 48 hours.
What is the minimum age to gamble online in Delaware?
Minimum casino gambling age in Delaware is 21, so if you’re 18 you won’t be able to play on the Delaware-licensed sites. Most offshore platforms accept all customers who are at least 18 years old.
How do I open an account?
All you need to do is fill out a short registration form and submit to an identity check.
Where can I open my account from?
If you want to register with a Delaware-only site, you’ll have to be physically present within the borders of the state. Most offshore sites should allow you to sign up from anywhere in the United States.
From where can I access Delaware online gambling sites?
Delaware-licensed sites have to be accessed from within the state’s territory. Offshore sites accept connections from all over the United States, but you shouldn’t try using them while you’re visiting states with strict anti-iGaming regulations, such as Washington and Utah.
Where can I familiarize myself with the official regulations over gambling in Delaware?
Both Delaware Constitution and Delaware Statutes contain gambling-related regulations.
How do I deposit to my online gambling account?
Offshore sites tend to rely on credit card payments, while Delaware sites give you more banking options to choose from.
How do I withdraw my winnings?
Delaware sites support a broad range of payment options, but if you’re playing on an offshore site you’ll have to choose between a wire transfer and a check by courier.
Is my money safe?
Your money is 100% safe with Delaware sites and the offshore sites listed here. You should be extra careful when dealing with offshore sites that haven’t been vetted by our iGaming experts.
What body regulates gambling in Delaware?
Gambling within the borders of Delaware is managed by Delaware Gaming Control Board and Delaware State Lottery.