Delaware has beaten New Jersey to the online gambling starting line by a couple of months, as the state’s three casinos launched the first phase of their online gambling portals on August 28.
Of course, the first phase doesn’t involve actual gambling—the start-ups are no-money sites, but are seen as precursors for a real cash launch in October. Atlantic City casinos expect to offer online gambling starting late this year.
The Delaware web portals now offer free slots, poker, blackjack and roulette games.
In August, each Delaware casino’s home page directed visitors to the Facebook-linked game platform DoubleDown Casino, run by slot machine company IGT, one of Delaware’s contractual slots vendors.
Each of the three licensed Delaware racinos—Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway—have now included gateway pages and links to the IGT launch site for DoubleDown.
The move keeps Delaware on pace to be the first state to offer a full complement of online casino games.
For the moment, anyone can play Delaware’s free gaming sites, but when cash gaming is implemented, cash betting will only be open to Delaware residents.
In the meantime, Delaware officials hope the free-play sites will help market the state’s casinos. The free games will still be available after cash betting begins.
Delaware officials had hoped to have the sites go live last month. The system is run by current Delaware slot system manager Scientific Games and European online betting company 888 Holdings.
In New Jersey, 888 Holdings has partnered with Caesars Entertainment—owner of Atlantic City’s Showboat, Caesars Atlantic City, Harrah’s Resort and Bally’s casinos—to offer online gaming.
Under current federal rules, online gaming can only be offered within a state’s boundaries. New Jersey is still on track to be the largest state in terms of population to offer online gambling.