Delaware Legal Poker Sites

Delaware StateDelaware might not get the same publicity as New Jersey or Nevada, however this State are true pioneers when it comes to gambling legislation. From the first racetracks way back in colonial times, to the first licensed pari-mutuel betting and right through to the first regulated in-State online poker and casino sites in 2013 – the small State of Delaware has led the way.

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This article gives you a detailed overview of how and where to legally enjoy poker in the State of Delaware. First of all, you can read about the 3 major poker card rooms which are located at the racetrack casinos. After that, you will find some discussion on social poker games. This includes home games, bar leagues and charity events. Next a look at the online poker games, including offshore poker sites. Towards the end of this page you will find information on the Statute books, followed by a quick summary of poker in Delaware and quick look at possible future scenarios.

Live Poker Games In Delaware

There are three live poker rooms in Delaware. These are located at the big racetrack casino complexes of Dover Downs, Delaware Park and Harrington Raceway. Each has a nice poker setup offering a range of cash games and tournaments around the clock. There are no other poker rooms in this State. Anyone seeking more action can travel to neighboring State New Jersey and visit the infamous Atlantic City instead.

Social Poker In The State Of Delaware

While there is no explicit carve-out for social home poker games under Delaware law, there are some court precedents on this subject. In both 1910 and 1918, it was ruled that small stakes home games where no individual was profiting from running the games (via either a rake or an entry fee) were legal under the existing Statutes. This means that you can feel secure playing your home games – even though these might not be strictly speaking legal.

You can find both free-to-enter bar poker leagues and charity poker events in Delaware.

Delaware Poker – Online Poker Games

This State were the very first to host fully legal regulated online poker within their borders. Set up of these games was approved in 2012, and the first games went live in 2013. The three licensed sites are owned by the big casino racetracks, and use popular poker software provided by one of the European poker sites to drive the games.

One issue encountered in Delaware is that there are not enough residents here to run busy poker sites alone. With poker, extra players mean bigger tournaments and wider choice of cash games, which in turn attracts more players. With a small population, DW were finding it hard to reach that critical mass of people. This issue has been partially solved by forming a liquidity sharing partnership with Nevada in early 2014.

Many offshore sites still offer poker action to Delaware residents. These sites are bigger than the regulated rooms in any of the early adopter States – and operate from Caribbean islands where poker games are completely legal.

What Do The Delaware Gambling Statutes Say?

When it comes to the law, you really need a lawyer to work out the various clauses and sub-clauses which pertain to poker. There is no single central definition of gambling here. Instead you will find that the act of hosting the game, spreading information about it – or owning a gambling device are the illegal activities.

It is not possible to argue an exemption for poker based on it being a skill game here. The definition of gambling has this one covered by mentioning that skill can be a factor of whatever is gambled on.

Here is the actual wording from the Delaware statute books (from part 14-32)

…bets or wagers upon the result of any trial or contest, wherever conducted, of skill, speed or power of endurance of human or beast …”.

Summing Up The Delaware Poker Scene

Delaware continue to show that smaller States can punch above their weight when it comes to pioneering online poker games. This State continues to push for change, with the unique liquidity sharing deal in conjunction from Nevada. Since both of these States are fairly small in terms of their total population, I would expect that there are further partnerships being discussed at this moment.

In the meantime, there are the 3 big ‘racinos’ (race-track + casino) venues which are thriving since table games and poker were introduced in recent years. If you really grave some bigger action, then there is nothing to stop you going over to Altantic City instead.

Delaware have certainly punched above their weight for such a small state. It will be interesting to see what follows.