Wednesday August 28,2013 : DELAWARE TRIGGERS ONLINE GAMBLING
Wednesday is a big day for legalised online gambling in Delaware as free-play action is launched
Delaware casinos will launch free-play online sites using IGT's DoubleDown Casino on Facebook today as part of the state’s preparations for an October 2013 real-money launch.
The eastern state is one of three that has legalised online gambling on its books, including New Jersey and Nevada, whilst other states are still mulling the pros and cons of legalised wagering in one form or another.
Delaware state officials are rolling out the first phase of the program today, which will only offer free play games with no cash pay-out.
Online poker, blackjack, slots and other traditional casino games will be among those included, said Finance Secretary Tom Cook, who noted Tuesday that some of the games will be familiar to traditional brick-and-mortar gamblers.
“Some of the [online] slot machines are the very slot machines on the floor of the casinos,” said Cook, who claimed it was important to provide a way for people to acclimate to the new experience.
“You have to offer that environment for customers to get used to,” Cook said, adding that once fully implemented, the state will receive the first $3.75 million earned through online gaming.
Officials say they hope to finish the rollout by the end of October 2013. Patrons will access the program through Delaware casinos’ websites belonging to Dover Downs, Harrington Raceway and Casino and Delaware Park, and will be required to register using their Facebook accounts.
Only people within the state of Delaware will be allowed to access the online portal. Players must be over 21 to log on to the gaming, or get a parent/guardian signoff, Secretary Cook said.
Cook said lottery officials are still working on crafting the regulations surrounding the revenue breakdown, but phase one will be a start.
After introducing a request for proposal (RFP) in January, this past May the Delaware State Lottery Office chose Scientific Games International-888 Holdings as the primary vendor to provide the casino-style gaming platform for real-money internet games
The contract is initially for five years and includes four additional one-year contract extension options.
Ed Sutor, chief operating officer of Dover Downs, said online gaming appeals to the younger generation, which in turn, could bring a younger demographic to the bricks and mortar casino culture.
“We recognize this is coming,” he said, noting that many services take place online or via mobile, from banking to shopping.
By 2014, Secretary Cook said the online gaming could move to cell phones and iPad devices.