Delaware legalized full-scale online gambling last year in June with the intention of launching the first regulated, real-money online casino in the United States. On Wednesday, August 28th, a free-to-play online gambling site hit the pages of Facebook when Delaware's three casinos debuted poker, blackjack, slots, and roulette games.
DoubleDown Casino brings the free-play site to the public and will also provide real-money play that should be available at the end of October. IGT is one of Delaware's chosen slot vendors and the owner of DoubleDown.
DelawareOnline.com reports that Tom Cook, Delaware's secretary of finance had this to say: "This first phase will allow us to really get the players acclimated to the virtual world in a legalized environment."
With the U.S. government's failure to legalize and regulate online gambling, individual states are writing their own laws and intrastate gambling is the only avenue available at this time. Although the free games can be played by anyone in the world, one must be physically located within Delaware's borders to get in action. Dover Downs Hotel & Casino CEO Ed Sutor said, “We are going to try to the best of our ability to get those people from the free-to-play to come play here."
Delaware is the sixth-least populated state in the nation and that could cause a big problem with online gambling, especially with poker where a large player pool is a necessity. It is possible that poker players could move to Delaware in their quest for online poker-friendly states but more states legalizing online gambling and forming interstate compacts would be the solution that would have the most impact on building a player pool.
Nevada legalized online poker in February and shortly after that historic date, another landmark date hit the history books when Ultimate Poker dealt the first regulated real-money online poker hand in the United States. Ultimate Poker was the first, but certainly not the last as others prepare to launch in the coming months.
New Jersey joined the list of states to jump on the online gambling bandwagon and expects to launch its online gambling market by the end of November. Nevada opted for online poker only with its legalization but New Jersey has joined Delaware's platform of allowing a wide selection of casino games.
Delaware may be interested in forming an interstate compact with other states according to Delaware Rep. John Viola who introduced gambling legislation to the state.
Image courtesy of PokerNews.com.