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Delaware's Online Gambling Laws 2024

Lawbook With GavelDelaware was the first state to pass legislation regulating online gambling. Nevada and New Jersey soon followed suit. While Delaware was the first state to pass the required legislation, Nevada beat it to become the first state to offer state-licensed online poker.

Both Delaware and New Jersey launched their own online casino and online poker platforms in the fall of 2013. Unlike Nevada where residents can play only online poker as far as state-regulated options go, residents of Delaware can play a range of online casino games and real money poker from sites that are licensed by the state.

This means that Delaware online gambling opportunities have expanded to include both state-regulated online gambling and legally licensed offshore gambling.

Quick Jump

    Where Does Delaware Stand On Gambling In General?

    Delaware law bans all forms of gambling. The only exceptions are the state lottery, parlay sports betting, certain offerings at racetracks, limited charitable gambling and state licensed online casino and poker gambling. The law does not specifically define gambling, but the definition of a gambling device is instructive and includes any machine, device, equipment or paraphernalia used or that can be used for any gambling activity between persons as well as gambling activity which involves the playing of a machine. It is a class A misdemeanor offense to own a gambling device in the state of Delaware with a license that expressly provides permission. The state has licensed casinos and race tracks. Approved organizations may host charitable gambling events. The prize in a charitable gambling event cannot be more than $5000. Several online poker sites and casinos are also licensed and regulated by the state.  The Delaware online casinos featured in this guide are all legally licensed and regulated by a respected and recognized government jurisdiction, hence they do not violate any Delaware gambling laws, nor are there any US Federal gambling laws prohibiting US players from participating in licensed and regulated online gambling that is based outside of the United States.

    Delaware Poker Gambling Laws

    Playing poker is illegal under Delaware law unless it is played at a licensed gambling facility. The law does not make any exception for home poker games. There are two legal precedents State vs. Panaro (1910) and State vs. Titlemen (1918) which acknowledge that a social game of poker is not illegal. As long as the host does not rake the pot or receive any fee for hosting the game, a social game of poker will not be illegal. However there have been cases where persons in Delaware have been arrested for playing poker at home. The Delaware online poker options presented in this guide only feature licensed gambling sites, hence participating at any of them does not go against any poker gaming laws for Delaware players. There are also multiple state regulated online poker sites to choose from.

    History Of Gambling Laws in DE

    Delaware has a long history of gambling. Way back in the 1700s people used to bet on horse races. The state built its first race track in 1760. While betting was illegal at that time, it remained widespread. In the 1930s the law makers in the state gave the go ahead to pari mutuel betting. By 1935 betting on horse racing was deemed legal as long as the race was licensed and was conducted according to state guidelines. The state legalized bingo in 1957. The state lottery was started in 1975. In 2004 the state permitted poker for charity gaming. In 2010, the race tracks in the state began offering casino style gambling where one could play table games, poker and video games. Such race tracks are popularly called racinos. Unlike many other states, DE permits sports betting (parlay only) at racetracks in the state.

    The state law imposes certain limitations on poker tournaments. Approved organizations or licensed casinos cannot hold more than 5 poker tournaments in a calendar year. There must be a gap of 70 days between two tournaments. Players cannot start playing until it is 1:30 p.m. and cannot play for more than 6 hours. The players must stop playing when it is 1 a.m. However in 2012, a special poker tournament held in Delaware known as Iron Man made it to the Guinness Book of World Records when it ran non-stop for over 36 hours without any scheduled breaks. The winner took home $ 27,160.

    Delaware Online Gambling Laws Explained

    In June 2012, State Governor Jack Markell signed into law the Gaming Competitiveness Act of 2012 which allowed the state to regulate online poker and casino games that would be made available from the websites of casinos based in Delaware. The Act also allows 20 non-casinos to host NFL sports betting and another 100 plus sites in Delaware to offer keno. Casinos in Delaware could now offer keno to visitors. You can learn more about Delaware online sportsbooks in the portion of our guide that targets sports betting for Delaware players.

    Presently three of the state's main casinos offer free to play games online. These games are open to everyone, including those in other states and foreign countries. If things go according to plan, these sites will offer real money gaming from October 2013. Once real money gaming starts at these state-based casino websites, only DE residents will be allowed to play these games online. Delaware residents also have access to legally licensed and regulated online gambling sites that are located outside of the United States. These options are explained on each of the applicable pages listed in the boxed menu to the top right-hand section of this page.

    Do Federal Laws Affect Online Gambling Access For Delaware Residents?

    Federal laws do not specifically prohibit online poker or playing online casino games. For a long time, it was thought that the Federal Wire Act prohibited online poker. However, in 2011, the Department of Justice stated that this is not the case. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 also does not prohibit Americans from playing online poker. It only places regulatory oversight on how American banks and finance companies can process online gambling-related transactions.

    Delaware State Gambling Laws

    This section of our laws content is designed to provide you with access to a reliable source for reviewing the official statutes and laws for the state of Delaware. Source: Delaware Criminal Code Official Data. This provides those who are interested in the official language of the statutes themselves an opportunity to read it.

    Delaware Gambling Laws FAQs

    What are the legal consequences for gambling in Delaware?

    A class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by as much as a year in jail in the state of Delaware. The exact definition for “gambling” cannot be found in the Delaware state legal code but it does offer a definition of “gambling device” that informs the meaning of the law. That definition includes any machine, equipment, or device or paraphernalia employed or that could otherwise be used in gambling activities against a person or a machine.

    What is pari-mutuel betting?

    This is the type of betting where all the bettors place their bets into a pool before an event or race takes place and the people with winning bets split the prizes amongst themselves. This is the most common form of betting used at horse and dog tracks all over the world. The bettors are not betting against the house in this form of betting, but instead, against all the other bettors.

    Is there Charitable Gambling in DE?

    Affirmative. Charitable gambling is a method by charitable organizations to raise money by any game or arrangement that relies primarily on chance as the leading factor in the playing of said games. Participants pay a fee to play and stand to win real-money prizes. The approved charitable organizations must be non-profit organizations that use the majority of the funds raised for charitable causes.

    What limitations are there on the Poker tournaments in Delaware?

    The establishments that hold poker tournaments in the state of Delaware must hold proper licensing and cannot have more than 5 tournaments in a calendar year. There must be at least 70 days of non-tournament play before the next tournament can take place. Poker cannot be played until 1:30pm in the afternoon and must be finished within 6 hours of the start time. Poker cannot be played past 1:30am.

    What types of gambling are legal in DE?

    Delaware is one of the best states in the country for legal gambling. The first race track was built in 1760 and pari-mutuel gambling was made legal in 1930. There is a state lottery, there is state legalized Bingo since 1957, and in 2004 the state permitted poker for charity gaming. In 1992, The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was written into law restricting physical sports betting in all states except Delaware, Oregon, Montana, and Nevada. It remains federally legal to practice sports betting in the state of Delaware as a result of this.

    Governor Jack Markell signed the Gaming Competitiveness Act of 2012 to allow the state the ability to regulate online casino games and poker that are available at already established casinos in the state. These methods of gambling online became readily available to the state of Delaware as a result of the Department of Justice’s formal opinion on the Federal Wire act in 2011, when it was clarified to only apply sports gambling. Now, Delaware and New Jersey hold similar laws and have signed an interstate gambling pact to share their customer bases with each other. This means that residents from both states can use the online gambling options that are offered from either, or.

    ***We are not lawyers, nor do we hold any type of law degree or certification. If you are seeking professional interpretation of any law or statute, or any type of legal advice, we recommend that you contact a licensed lawyer. We are online gambling consultants and do not claim to be experts concerning the law.