There really are not too many casinos to speak of in Delaware. When it comes down to it, the reason for so few brick and mortar gambling sites in the state is because, quite simply, there isn’t the market for it. Delaware is, in and of itself, a small state; the second smallest in the US, in fact. What’s more, just about every single one of Delaware’s neighboring states (Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey) have legalized casino operations. In essence, it is far more likely that gamblers from out of state will remain at casinos in their home state while Delaware simply does not have enough people to be able to support a plethora of brick and mortar casinos.
Still, with all this being said, there are 4 dedicated gambling destinations in the state. Located in 3 different cities, you are really never too far from the action in Delaware.
Delaware Park Racetrack & Slots
The Delaware Poker Room
Harrington Raceway & Casino
Types of Delaware Casinos
Being that there are only 4 total casinos in the state, there isn’t a whole lot of room for a wide variety of brick and mortar establishments. When it comes down to it, Delaware’s casino scene consists of 3 racinos and 1 poker room.
A racino is, quite simply, a casino that exists at a racetrack. In Delaware, this can mean either horse/dog tracks or the massive Monster Mile NASCAR speedway that exists in Dover. It is important to note that not all racinos are built similarly. While one may offer a full array of table games, video poker, and slots, another may only offer slot games in addition to wagering on the races of the day. In Delaware, you will find that the 3 racinos offer nice variety when it comes to the games they facilitate.
Delaware Poker Rooms
As its name implies, a poker room hosts nothing other than poker games. While the dominant game is, more often than not, Texas Hold’em, there are a number of different games and variations that can take place in poker rooms. Being that there is only 1 poker room in the entire state, it goes without saying that The Delaware Poker Room is busy more often than it isn’t.
Poker in Delaware is worth talking about because—apart from Atlantic City—Delaware was, for a time, the only other East Coast location where you could play live poker.
Delaware Park was the first Delaware poker room to open and offer live games in 2010. Initially, the room was always full with long waiting lists every day of the week. Eventually the opening of competing Pennsylvania Casinos, and then Maryland casinos, the action at Delaware Park was reduced significantly. Delaware Park does still have a poker room, though it has been downsized and moved to the other end of the casino.
Delaware Sports Betting
Sports betting is available in Delaware but there are unique restrictions that are worth taking note of. The three casinos in the state are able to facilitate sports betting, but so too are more than 30 other locations which are referred to as “retail” sites. The odd facet with sports betting at physical locations in Delaware is the fact that it is limited to wagering on the NFL.
Beyond this, the NFL wagering that is allowed to take place is of the parlay variety exclusively. In essence, a brick and mortar sports bettor in the state of Delaware is never allowed to wager on a single game. Instead, they must place a parlay of at least 2 games. Other than the NFL, however, sports betting is not able to exist legally. Though there have been attempts in the past, this is something that Delaware does not seem too keen on changing anytime in the near future.
History of Gambling in Delaware
Horse racing is something that is popular in Delaware and has been since before the United States was even officially founded as an independent nation. The first horse tracks date back to the middle of the 18th century. In the early days, gambling on the races was technically illegal, but a quick stroll around the grounds would reveal that patrons offered placed wagers in small groups amongst friends.
By the middle of the 1930s, betting that was once illegal became not only legal, but extremely popular at horse tracks around the state. In fact, the creation of the Delaware Racing Commission in 1933 paved the way for a law that went into effect two years later. This law allowed not only for horse racing, but for the playing of games of chance as well.
Since then, gambling has proven to be a major success in Delaware and is credited as being one of the tax-revenue leaders for the state. Even though there are not immediate plans to erect a bunch of new brick and mortar gambling sites, the ones that do exist are top performers and are rarely seen or heard to be struggling financially.
Gambling has gone over so well in Delaware that the state even recently moved to allow for legalized online gambling. Though online gambling is not strictly illegal in most states, it is not strictly legal either. Delaware, along with Nevada, moved to be the first two states to approve the creation of an intrastate online casino network. The casinos in this network were able to provide every casino game you can think of, but needed to submit to state regulation and, of course, pay taxes. Since the first legal Delaware online casinos went live back in 2013, the intrastate network has been nothing short of a massive success. So much so that a handful of other states are currently working on passing legislation to set up online casino networks of their own.
Delaware may not be known as one of the United States’ premier gambling destinations, but it is assuredly a great place that is extremely friendly to gamblers of all types.