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Gambling Laws in Delaware

Key Points

Between 1937 and 2018, Delaware enacted laws legalizing:

The State of Delaware legalizes and regulates various gambling options, including online and in-person casinos, poker, horse racing, lottery, sports betting, and daily fantasy sports. The Delaware Lottery Office controls all gambling activities, except horse racing, in the state. It enacts regulations and grants licenses to gambling providers to conduct their business lawfully in the state.

Not only did Delaware legalize these forms of gambling, it was also the first to legalize them.

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The Delaware Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) regulates the gambling industry as the state’s official gaming commission. It also supports the DE Lottery in evaluating licensing requests and overseeing gaming establishments. They have sole jurisdiction for investigating criminal violations connected to the state’s gaming laws and practices. Their goal is to protect the reputation of the DE gaming sector.

The Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission and Delaware Harness Racing Commission regulate the state’s horse racing industry. Their objectives include protecting, preserving, and promoting horse racing, making sure licensing and patron decisions are fair, and ensuring fairness in wagering on horse races.

You must be at least 18 years old to play the lottery and pari-mutuel in Delaware. The gambling age for online and live casinos, video lottery, sports betting, and other gambling activities is 21 years old.

Delaware taxes the gambling winnings of its residents.

Delaware income tax on gambling winnings ranges from 2.2% to 6.6%, depending on the winnings. Also, the lottery deducts 24% of any winnings over $5,000 for federal taxes.

Gambling History

Delaware has a long history that dates as far back as the 1700s. The first type of gambling in the state took place in horse races. The first race track in Delaware was built in 1760. While betting was not legal, it was widespread.

It was until 1937 that pari-mutuel betting became legal in the state. This followed the establishment of the Delaware Racing Commission in 1933.

The Delaware Lottery was established in 1974 to create funds for the state. The first Delaware Lottery game was in March 1975. The Delaware Lottery later allowed video lottery at racing tracks in 1995.

Table games became legal in the state in 2010. Due to this, the three horse racing tracks in the state were converted into racinos, which combine a casino and a racetrack.

The state’s legislature enacted the Gaming Competitiveness Act in 2012. This law legalized online casino gambling and poker. This made Delaware the first state to legalize online gambling.

In 2014, the state signed an online poker compact with Nevada. In 2017, the Interactive Fantasy Contest Act was enacted to legalize daily fantasy sports.

Sports betting became legal in Delaware in 2018, shortly after the US Supreme Court declared the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA) 1992 unconstitutional.

Before 2018, Delaware was one of few states that were permitted certain exemptions from the PAPSA, which prohibited sports betting nationwide.

Delaware continued to permit three-team parlays on NFL games since the state had previously permitted certain sports wagers. Delaware was one of the first states to legalize sports betting after PASPA was repealed in 2018, accepting the first online sports wagers in June 2018.

Online Casino Laws in Delaware

Delaware legalized online gambling in 2012 through the Gaming Competitiveness Act 2012. It is the first state to legalize online casino gambling in the country.

The Delaware Lottery Office regulates online gambling activities in the state. The three land-based casinos regulated by the Delaware Lottery Office provide online casino gambling services.

They provide just as many games as are available in the land-based casino. Some games include slots, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and poker.

You can play for free or with real money. If you are playing free games, you can play from any location. However, real-money games are available only to participants physically within Delaware. Also, you must be at least 21 years old to participate in online gambling activities.

The Gaming Competitiveness Act also legalized online poker in Delaware in 2012. ​​However, there were few players because only those physically present in the state were allowed to participate.

To permit player pooling between the states, Delaware and Nevada went on to sign an interstate poker compact in 2014. Player liquidity would be divided between the two states. This made it possible for Delaware and Nevada to develop larger online poker communities, increasing the number of active virtual poker tables. It also meant that prize pools for tournaments could be bigger.

Poker tournaments and cash games are open to players from other agreed-upon jurisdictions. On March 24, 2015, Delaware and Nevada officially began their shared online poker gaming program. New Jersey joined the agreement in 2018.

The Delaware Lottery regulates online poker like other online gambling games in the state.

Every time the governor of Delaware signs a new interstate agreement with another state to share online poker liquidity, the regulations concerning internet poker are likewise amended.

In-Person Casino Laws in Delaware

Land-based casino games are legal in Delaware. There are three land-based casinos in the state. Each is a racino—a combination of a casino and a racetrack.

In 1994, the Delaware General Assembly approved the Horse Racing Preservation Act, allowing video lottery or slot machine operations in pari-mutuel horse racing venues. This prompted the growth of the state’s casino gambling industry.

In 2010, the Table Games Bill was passed into law to extend the activities of these racinos to include table games.

The three Delaware casinos are:

  1. ​​Delaware Park Casino: 777 Delaware Park Boulevard, Wilmington, DE 19804
  2. Dover Downs Hotel and Casino: 1131 North Dupont Highway, Dover, DE 19901
  3. Harrington Raceway and Casino: 18500 South Dupont Highway, Harrington, DE 19952

The Delaware Lottery Office oversees these casinos. These racinos offer a diverse and large selection of real-money casino games. These games include slots, jackpot, roulette, blackjack, baccarat, craps, three-card poker, and Texas Hold’em.

Daily Fantasy Sites Laws in Delaware

By the Delaware Interactive Fantasy Contest Act, daily fantasy sports became legal in Delaware in 2017. The Act allows participants in Delaware to wager online on interactive daily fantasy sports competitions presented by those internet service providers who have registered in Delaware.

As of November 2022, three operators are authorized to provide daily fantasy sports contests in Delaware. These operators are:

  1. DraftKings
  2. FanDuel
  3. Yahoo Fantasy Sports

Interactive fantasy sports competitions are games of skill in which one or more participants compete against one another by selecting and managing rosters of players whose performance directly reflects that of competitors on sports teams and in competitions.

Sports betting and daily fantasy sports betting are very different from one another. You have to practice your skills to increase your chances of success. There are a variety of sports, divided into various competitions and leagues, available for wagering.

The best strategy for winning fantasy sports competitions is to stick to the familiar leagues and teams.

The Delaware Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) is in charge of regulating the activities of operators and participants in daily fantasy sports contests. It ensures fairness, accountability, and public confidence in the contests. You must be 18 years old to participate in interactive fantasy sports contests.

Sports Betting Laws in Delaware

Sports betting became fully legal in Delaware in 2018. Before 2018, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) 1992 banned sports betting nationwide.

However, Delaware was one of four states exempt from the federal ban because they offered sports betting before 1992. This made it possible for the state to continue to accept a small number of sports wagers, especially 3-team parlays on NFL games.

After the US Supreme Court decided to lift the ban in 2018, sports betting became allowed in Delaware. It was one of the country's first states to legalize sports betting.

A variety of bets, including single-game wagers, teaser bets, and future bets, are now permissible for residents to make. Each of the three casinos and racetracks in Delaware offers sports wagering.

Baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, professional and collegiate football, and many other sports are all available for wagering.

The Delaware sportsbooks that offer on-site sports betting are:

  • Dover Downs Sports Book
  • Delaware Park Bookie
  • Harrington Casino Sports betting

Lottery Laws in Delaware

The Delaware Lottery is the second longest-running legalized form of gambling in the state. The Delaware Lottery was established in 1974. In 2012, the Gaming Competitiveness Act made online lottery legal in Delaware.

Delaware lottery games include scratch cards, Pick 3, Pick 4, Hot Lotto, Lucky for Life, Play 3, and Play 4, among other games. Additionally, locals can participate in multi-state lottery jackpots like PowerBall and Mega Millions.

You can purchase a ticket from a retailer to participate. There are more than 600 authorized lottery dealers in the state. You can also participate in the online lottery. There is a one-year time limit to claim lottery prizes.

The Delaware Lottery Office oversees the state's lottery and gambling sector. The Delaware Lottery is the state’s fourth-largest source of revenue when all of its gambling-related revenues are combined. The revenue from the lottery is distributed accordingly:

  • Not less than 30% to the General Fund of the state from the “State Lottery Fund”
  • 45% payment of prizes
  • 20% administration and expenses

The General Fund revenue is used to pay for various governmental services, preventing the need for tax increases.

Players must be 18 years old to play the lottery, while the gambling age for video lottery and other forms of gambling is 21 years old.

Racing Betting Laws in Delaware

Horse and harness racing with pari-mutuel betting is legal in Delaware. It is the earliest form of gambling that became legal in the state.

It started in 1937 when Delaware Park opened and started offering harness and thoroughbred racing. The Horse Racing Preservation Act (1994) further allowed the racing tracks in the state to expand to slot machines or video lottery operations.

There are three racetracks in Delaware. They are:

  1. Delaware Park: 777 Delaware Park Boulevard, Wilmington, DE 19804
  2. Dover Downs: 1131 North Dupont Highway, Dover, DE 19901
  3. Harrington Raceway: 18500 South Dupont Highway, Harrington, DE 19952

The Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission and the Delaware Harness Racing Commission govern the state’s horse racing industry.

Apart from horse and harness racing and pari-mutuel, Delaware also allows off-track betting on out-of-state races.

Pending Legislation on Gambling in Delaware

Between 2018 and 2022, the General Assembly of Delaware proposed legislative changes to the gambling industry.

  • Senate Bill 67 (2022) - This bill was proposed in the 151st Assembly. It seeks to amend the code relating to jurisdiction over offenses relating to Delaware’s gambling exclusion list. It seeks to remove the exclusive jurisdiction of the Superior Court over certain offenses because of the voluntary and involuntary exclusion lists. This proposition means that the Court of Common Pleas will have jurisdiction over the offenses as class A misdemeanor offenses.
  • House Bill 201 (2022) - This was another proposed bill at the 151st Assembly. It seeks to amend the Delaware Code related to the state lottery by making certain updates. One of the updates is the licensing requirements for gaming employees and vendors. Also, it revises references in some areas of the legislation to reflect which law enforcement organizations are in charge of carrying out the obligations outlined in the Delaware Code.

It also makes sure that the administrative and vendor expenses required to run the Internet video lottery are taken out of the net earnings from the lottery just once.

Finally, this Act makes it clear that, in addition to drawing lottery tickets and instant lottery tickets, sports lottery tickets are also prohibited from being sold at a price higher than that set by the Director.

  • House Bill 249 (2018) - This bill was proposed in the 149th Assembly Session to amend the law on interactive fantasy contests. This Act affirms that those competitions are games of skill” and are not, as a result, considered to be an illegal form of gambling in Delaware. Operators must also submit a licensing application and adhere to some of the most stringent consumer protection regulations in the country. The legislation also imposes a $50,000 yearly fee and a 15% tax on operators of paid fantasy sports contests’ net adjusted revenues.

Delaware is at the forefront of gambling regulation in the US, with all forms of gambling legalized in the state. They include:

  • Bingo: In-person and online
  • Casinos: In-person and online
  • Fantasy sports: In-person and online
  • Horse racing betting: In-person and online
  • Lottery: In-person
  • Poker: In-person and online
  • Sports betting: In-person and online.