posted on July 02, 2012 16:01
Delaware to allow online gambling in 2013
On Thursday, Delaware became the first state to allow legal online casino gambling with the governor's approval of legislation that allows for full-service betting websites offering slots play and games like roulette, poker and blackjack.
Democratic Gov. Jack Markell signed the Delaware Gaming Competitiveness Act of 2012 into law the morning after the bill passed the state Senate on a close vote that reflected opposition from lawmakers.
Proponents hailed the measure as a viable way to help preserve the state's embattled casino industry, which is facing aggressive competition from new venues in the neighboring states of Maryland and Pennsylvania.
Online slot machine play and casino games such as blackjack and poker will be accessible through each Delaware casino's website and controlled centrally by the state Lottery Office. Delaware lottery tickets also will be offered for sale on a state-run website.
Federal law limits online gambling to players within the state's borders, which will be verified using geolocation software.
The state hopes to launch online gambling in 2013 and intends to make betting available on a variety of digital devices including smart phones and tablets.
Other states already offer lottery ticket sales via the Internet and Nevada is moving toward the implementation of online poker play, but Delaware is the only state so far to legalize comprehensive online casino gaming.
The legislation sets aside a portion of the expected profits from online gambling to offset $3.75 million in licensing fees currently paid by Delaware's three casinos, with the caveat that the venues use those savings to fund new marketing efforts or capital expansion projects.
Casinos in Delaware employ about 2,500 people and legalized gambling generates more than $250 million annually in state tax dollars.