How Delaware Became an Early Pioneer of iGaming in the US

How Delaware Became an Early Pioneer of iGaming in the US

When you think of gambling in the United States, Las Vegas and Atlantic City are two places that are sure to come to mind. Delaware is a state that is perhaps best known to people outside the region as being the home state of current president, Joe Biden. However, Delaware has a long and interesting history in terms of gambling and became an early pioneer of iGaming in the US.

Online Gambling in Delaware

Gambling in Delaware can be traced back to the 1760s following the construction of the first horse racing facility in the town of Newark. Gambling was prohibited in the 1700s, but private betting took place on a regular basis. Following the Great Depression, the Delaware Racing Commission was formed in 1933 and two years later a license was created to allow wagering at racetracks and gambling on the pools.

Moving to 1992 and the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was introduced in the United States. This banned sports betting across the United States, but Delaware was in a unique position as the state continued to allow 3-teаm parlays on NFL games. Moving to online gambling, other than Nevada and New Jersey, Delaware was the only state to offer legal online gambling in any form until 2017, when Pennsylvania passed legislation to introduce iGaming.

Interestingly, Delaware was the first state to introduce online gambling in 2013, before both Nevada and New Jersey. In addition, after the US Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, Delaware was the first state to introduce sports betting and they used the three major race tracks located in the state to launch sportsbooks. The three racetracks in question, Delaware Park, Dover Downs, and Harrington Raceway were already home to land-based casinos and they did not take much persuading to add a sportsbook.

Online Casinos in Delaware

However, it is online casino gaming where Delaware led the way for so long, having offered online casino games since 2013. Much like the sportsbooks, Delaware Park, Dover Downs, and Harrington Raceway were used to launch the online casinos. The top Delaware online casinos include Dover Downs Hotel and Casino Online, Casino Delaware Park, and Harrington Online Gaming. All three of these online casinos were launched under a unified system by SG Digital and 888 in 2013, before any other state in the US had considered making online casino gaming legal.

Delaware has stuck with the three online casinos, and we have not seen any others introduced, even following the changes in legislation across the US. Despite the fact iGaming has been available in Delaware for longer than anywhere else in the United States, the licensing remains strict, which is why many online casino brands have yet to make a move into the state. The tax legislation has also proved an issue for other online casino brands hoping to expand into Delaware. Unless the licensing and legislation changes in the future, the three online casinos highlighted above may have a monopoly on iGaming in the state.

Although Delaware has not seen a great deal of development in terms of iGaming since 2013, they remain the early pioneers of online gambling in the United States. When every other state in the country saw people having to access offshore websites to gamble online, people in Delaware had three online casinos to play and could also wager 3-teаm parlays on NFL games. So, despite not having expanded their online casino offering over the past 20 years, Delaware was a frontrunner in terms of iGaming in the US and set the standards for the rest to follow.

Where Else is Online Gambling Legal in the US?

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Adam Green

About Adam Green

Adam Green is an iGaming industry written that has been covering industry regulation and events for the past 11 years. He has written for a number of other publications including iGaming Insider, IGB Magazine and Gambling 911.