Thanks to legislative moves made in 2012, anyone in the state aged 21+ can enjoy online poker via their desktop or mobile. In fact, thanks to 888Poker, Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway, and Dover Downs, it’s not just poker games on offer. To provide a complete gaming experience, legal Delaware online poker apps feature bonuses, tournaments, and unique innovations such as BLAST. In this guide to Delaware poker online, we unpack all of this and more. So, let’s jump to all that now if you’re ready to play in the First State.
Legal Delaware poker sites have been going strong since 2013. Although it’s not the biggest US gaming market, liquidity-sharing pacts helped the First State remain a strong player. In 2020, activity surged due to COVID-19 restrictions. With people on lockdown and live poker rooms shut, players had no choice but to play online.
Year-on-year activity in March 2020 was up 87%. Traffic also surged by 48% and 12% in April and May, respectively. Although things plateaued as lockdown restrictions eased, the sharp upturn did help raise the baseline. The hope is that this will make Delaware a more profitable poker market in the coming years.
2020 also saw 888Poker sign a two-year extension to its licensing agreement. This means it will remain the sole provider of internet poker in the state until 2022. As yet, there’s been no word on whether the likes of PokerStars, partypoker and the likes will be able to apply for licenses. However, if the state is to become a powerhouse on the gaming scene, more networks are needed. That fact aside, it’s still possible to play legal online poker in Delaware.
Online poker in Delaware is somewhat unique in the sense it’s a single-network state. If you check out our guide to Nevada poker laws, you’ll see that WSOP.com is the only active operator there. However, until 2014, the state also had a second site known as Ultimate Poker. So, while Delaware and Nevada both have just one operational network, the latter used to have two. In contrast, Delaware has only ever had one and that makes it something of a rarity.
Something else that’s unique about Delaware’s scene is that it has three brands operating on the same network. Basically, Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway, and Dover Downs all have their own poker and casino sites. However, instead of having their own separate networks, they all link into 888Poker. This means playerpools are connected.
So, if you’re playing via Delaware Park’s platform, you’ll be competing against players on that site. As well as those on Harrington Raceway and Dover Downs’ sites. Another way to think about this set-up is that 888Poker is the main server and each of Delaware’s three gaming brands are computers. These computers are connected to the same server, which means they share players and resources. In fact, what’s useful about this model is that 888Poker’s server also connects to other states.
Because Delaware online poker laws contain provisions for liquidity sharing pacts, local sites can link to those in other states. Specifically, Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway, and Dover Downs share players within the state and with 888Poker’s networks in Nevada and New Jersey. The end result is a network of shared experiences from a single provider. For a state the size of Delaware, this is hugely important. Because you can connect to players in other states, you’ll find more action at the three legal online poker sites in Delaware than may otherwise have been possible.
Now we know that all three Delaware poker rooms are linked to the same network, we can pick out some commonalities. Yes, each site may look different on the surface. However, underneath the images and icons, everything is the same. Therefore, when you join Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway, or Dover Downs, you can expect to find the following features:
The one thing we don’t like about 888Poker Delaware and its connected sites is the fact they don’t have instant-play software. In today’s market, players like to click and play. However, there’s something to be said about offering a download-only service. The software is more stable, and it can handle more features without running into glitches or errors. You can just download the software to your iOS or Android device and play on the go.
At Delaware Park Poker, for example, the lowest table limits are $0.01/$0.02. That’s low enough for anyone that wants to play real-money poker and not spend too much. If you're not confident enough to jump straight into action, there are play money tables as well as freerolls to get you started.
Perhaps the best games all Delaware online poker rooms offer are BLAST tournaments. These four-handed showdowns not only take a few minutes to complete and feature random prizepools. You won’t know what the prizepool is or how many people are able to win a share until the game starts.
What you will know, however, is the range it could be within. At the top end, BLAST tournaments allow you to win 10,000X the buy-in. So, if you played at the lowest stakes ($0.10) you could win up to $1,000. Play at the top limit ($30), and you could win an impressive $300,000!
888Poker and its connected sites might have the monopoly on true poker games in Delaware but it’s not the only player in town. Thanks to US sweepstakes laws, Global Poker also has a place in the market. In technical terms, this isn’t a real-cash Delaware poker room. However, it does allow you to make deposits, play, and get something back with a certain amount of value.
The way Global Poker Delaware works is as follows:
As you can see, the process is somewhat convoluted - not what you’ll experience at other Delaware poker rooms. However, it’s a fairly slick system once you get used to it. What’s more, it’s within the confines of US gaming laws. And, therefore, makes Global Poker legal in Delaware and 48 other states.
In terms of the site itself, we believe it’s best for casuals and novices. The overriding theme is entertainment. Avatars have a cartoon vibe and tournaments have quirky names like Bonanza and Gold Rush. When you combine these features with Hold’em and Omaha options, as well as a poker school, it’s fair to say this site is one for aspiring players. So, if you want to have some fun and hone your skills at a site that isn’t infested with pros, Global Poker is perfect.
When you use our sign-up links and download a Delaware poker app, you’ll be entitled to a variety of bonuses and promotions. Like other sites around the world, Delaware’s finest card rooms kick things off with a welcome bonus. Since Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway, and Dover Downs are all connected, the newbie offer is the same across all three sites.
You need to be 21 or older, based in the state, and use our registration links. And you’ll receive a 100% welcome bonus worth up to $500. Whatever amount you receive will be released in increments. The first $20 will come in $5 chunks each time you earn 40 Status Points. The remainder of your bonus will come in $10 chunks each time you earn 80 Status Points. In practice, you earn two Status Points for every $1 you pay in rake.
So, to earn 40 Status Points, you need to rake $20. For 80 Status Points, it’s $40. So, based on the release requirements, you’ll get an effective rakeback rate of 25% for the first $20 of your welcome bonus. And 12.5% for the remainder. That’s a great deal and demonstrates why online casino bonuses are so important. In a game where anything can happen, even if you’re a skilled player, it’s nice to have an extra way to earn money.
Delaware online poker welcome bonuses are like safety nets. If you’re winning, they’ll boost your returns. If you’re losing, they’ll help offset some of your losses. Either way, the extra income will make your ride a little smoother. Anyone that’s played poker before will know the road to success is marked by ups and downs. Poker bonuses won’t flatten the road completely, but they will make the journey a little more stable.
Poker is legal both online and offline in this state. The state’s bricks and mortar venues were joined by a trio of digital sites thanks to House Bill 333. Otherwise known as the Delaware Gambling Competitiveness Act of 2012, HB333 amended existing state lottery laws so that licensed operators could offer other forms of gambling online.
As defined in the legislation, operators can offer
“any game played with cards, dice or any mechanical, electromechanical or electronic device or machine (excluding video lottery machines) for money, credit or any representative of value, including, but not limited to, baccarat, blackjack, twenty one, poker,12 craps, roulette, bingo, wheel of fortune or any variation of these games.”
In addition to making poker and table games legal,
HB333 contained provisions for interstate compacts via Section 4862(b):
“Notwithstanding the foregoing, persons who are not physically present in this State may engage in Internet lottery games only if the Office determines that such games are not inconsistent with federal law and the law of the jurisdiction in which the person is physically present, or if such games are conducted pursuant to an interstate compact to which the State is a party that is not inconsistent with federal law.”
What all of this means in practice is that Delaware poker online is legal as long as the following rules are followed:
Any online Delaware poker room has to abide by strict laws. One of the main restrictions is location. All customers must be aged 21+ and located within the state. Anyone not in the state won’t be able to join or use one of Delaware’s sites.
This may sound counterintuitive given what we’ve said about liquidity sharing. It’s true that players in Delaware can compete with players in Nevada and New Jersey. However, this is only possible because everyone enters the network via a certain portal. To put it another way, everyone has their own door into the system. Once inside, everyone can interact with each other. However, everyone has to stay in their own little bubble - that is, the card room they have an account with. Therefore, you need to open an account with a licensed Delaware online poker site in order to join the communal pool.
To join a site, you need to abide by state laws which dictate that you must be in Delaware to log in and play. As we’ve said, sites use geolocation software to make sure you’re in the right place. If you’re not, you won’t be able to log in. If you try to circumvent the system, the technology is smart enough to know and you’ll be kicked off the site. Geolocation trackers are in place to protect the operator and you. Making sure customers are in Delaware is a legal requirement, but it also protects you - the player. When you’re in the state and playing by the rules, you’re protected by the regulatory framework that surrounds the industry. If you try to operate outside of this framework, you run the risk of being cheated or busted by the authorities. Therefore, it’s important to comply with geolocation requirements when you play online.
The history of online poker in Delaware stretches back to 2011 and what came to be known as Black Friday. When the Department of Justice (DOJ) unsealed indictments against sites operating in the US, the industry collapsed. The DOJ was working on the basis that the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) made it illegal for offshore entities to process payments from US players.
The game of poker specifically wasn’t deemed illegal under UIGEA. However, the act of making deposits and withdrawals to offshore sites was. Therefore, the sites that remained active in the US were breaking the law by finding alternative ways to process payments. The indictments brought an end to playing legally online on a national level.
However, in 2011, the DOJ issued a statement on the Wire Act. The statement was issued after various state lotteries called for clarification on the law. So that they could sell tickets online. The DOJ asserted that the Wire Act only made cross-state communications with regards to sports betting illegal. As such, there was nothing to stop states from enacting their own online gaming laws. This prompted a number of states, including Delaware and New Jersey, to draw up their own regulations.
By 2012, the Delaware Gambling Competitiveness Act of 2012 (HB333) was put in place. This act amended that state’s existing lottery laws and allowed licensed lottery operators to offer casino games and poker. HB333 passed through the House and Senate in the summer of 2012. It was then eventually signed into law on June 29, 2012, by then Delaware Governor Jack Markell.
Online lottery sales were the first priority after HB333 became law. While these provisions were taking shape, Delaware Lottery (the state regulatory) hosted a selection process. The aim was to give one online operator a license to host all three poker and casino sites. PokerStars Delaware was in the mix, as were other brands. 888 Holdings was selected, and, on November 8, 2013, the network went live. Since then, Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway, and Dover Downs have all offered legal games in the state.
Online poker in Delaware has a number of advantages over its offline counterparts. That doesn’t mean live poker is boring. In fact, the opposite is true. However, if you want a more accessible experience, online games are a better choice.
As well as desktop platforms, the top Delaware poker sites are available on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. This means you can play whenever and wherever you want. Online poker in Delaware is also affordable. Cash games start at $0.01/$0.02, which means you can buy in from as little as $1. Tournaments are even more affordable. As well as freerolls that offer cash prizes, you can pay $0.10 to take part in games. Where prizes could be worth many times the entry fee.
Finally, the Delaware online poker industry is designed with safety in mind. Every regulation is there to protect operators and players. From the way games are offered to the payment processors in place, the rules are there to protect you any time. In short, it’s extremely safe. What’s more, it’s accessible and affordable.
When you think “online poker Delaware,” the first thing people assume is that there won’t be enough people playing. With a population of under one million, it’s natural to assume that poker sites struggle to generate traffic. In some ways, that’s a fair assumption to make. Overall, Delaware’s online gaming economy isn’t as lucrative as other states.
However, the First State has an ace up its sleeve: liquidity sharing. Lawmakers realized early on that the state’s poker rooms wouldn’t survive if they couldn’t connect to other networks. Today, Delaware sites are linked to their counterparts in Nevada and New Jersey. This means traffic levels are at an acceptable level.
On an average day, peak traffic is somewhere in the region of 500 players. As you’d expect, most of the action takes place at $1/$2 and below. There are some higher stakes games on the odd occasion, but you’ll find most of the action takes place at lower stakes. Therefore, if you’re a newbie, novice, or rising star, you shouldn’t have any issues finding a cash game or tournament.
Don’t expect a ton of MTTs at stakes over $50. There are some $100+ tournaments, but the fields are generally quite small and they don’t run on a regular basis. The main $100 event you need to look out for is the Sunday $15,000 guarantee. However, if you’re looking for Hold’em and Omaha tournaments at mid to low-stakes, 888Poker DE network has you covered.
The majority of cash games on Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway, and Dover Downs are Hold’em. If you’re grinding at the $50NL level and below, there should be a decent selection of games. Omaha at the same stakes isn’t as popular but there are games. You may, on occasion, find Stud games. These are available in Delaware but they’re hard to find much action.
There are plenty of sit & go tournaments running on the 888Poker Delaware network. Buy-ins start at $0.10 and scale up past the $30 mark. Full-ring, six-max, and heads-up games come in standard and turbo formats. However, the games you really want to look out for are BLAST tournaments. As we said earlier in this Delaware online poker guide, these lottery-style sit & go tournaments offer random prizepools worth up to 10,000X your bet.
If you don’t want to pay to play, there will be weekly freerolls at all Delaware online poker sites. These tournaments don’t cost anything to enter and will give you the chance to win prizes worth a few dollars or, sometimes, a few hundred dollars. The main way into these events is by making deposits and/or raking a certain amount.
Every payment you make online will be safe. Regardless of the amount you deposit or the method you choose, all legal sites use SSL encryption technology and reputable processors to handle your money. Additionally, all player funds are stored in secure, segregated bank accounts. Meaning your bankroll is safe even if the site runs into financial issues.
To make a deposit, you need to follow these steps:
To make a withdrawal, you need to follow these steps:
Is online poker in Delaware safe? Yes. Are Delaware online poker games fair? Yes. All licensed operators have a variety of security protocols in place. As we’ve said, SSL encryption, reputable payment processors, segregated player funds, and password-protected accounts are all in place. Add to this a duty of care to players both in terms of responsible gambling provisions, and you’ll always be safe online.
Another important feature of all legal sites is random number generator (RNG) technology. RNGs are complex algorithms that ensure every hand is dealt in a fair and random way. Basically, RNGs mimic the shuffling and dealing you’d see in a live game. Therefore, you don’t have to worry that the cards are being unfairly distributed, or results are weighting in favor of certain players.