Delaware Casinos & Gambling

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.

Online Casinos That Accept Delaware Residents

See our detailed guide to online gambling in Delaware for more recommended gambling sites.

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Delaware Casinos

Delaware Park Racetrack & Slots
The Delaware Poker Room
Dover Downs
Harrington Raceway & Casino

Gambling in Delaware

Delaware is liberal with its gambling regulations, and traditional casinos are no exception. Legislation that may pave the way for more casinos to spring up in the future has been slowly moving through the courts. Although the population of Delaware is small compared to the neighboring states, its gambling scene is highly competitive. Casinos in Delaware pay a flat 29.4% tax rate, one of the highest tax rates in the US.

Delaware doesn’t have a large population, so many people are quite surprised when they realize how massive the local gambling market actually is. Delaware offers traditional casino games like slots, roulette, blackjack or baccarat, as well as pari-mutuel horse race wagering, parlay wagering on traditional sports and charity gaming events.

Delaware also operates its own lottery and allows local lotto enthusiasts to purchase their tickets online. The First State was actually second to pass online gambling regulations and launched its first intrastate iGaming sites on October 30 in 2013. However, Delaware managed to beat New Jersey when it comes to becoming the first state to offer regulated online casino games.

Currently, there are three major casino establishments in Delaware:

  • Dover Downs located in Dover hosts the largest selection of games, with over 3,000 slot machines and 40+ table games
  • Delaware Park situated in Wilmington features 2,500 slots and 60+ table games
  • Harrington Casino located in Harrington offers ~1,800 slots and 40+ table games

Most gambling forms are permitted in the casinos, but players may not wager on Craps. Gambling in bowling alleys is also prohibited.

Delaware was the first state to legalize online gambling and one of three states which regulate iGaming operations. Players looking to access games such as online Blackjack and video poker can use our list of recommended online casinos to find excellent options.

Any veterans club that’s been operating for 75+ years may own and operate slot machines and video poker. Sixty percent of gambling proceeds generated in this way must be donated to approved charities.

Delaware residents may legally own slot machines older than 25 years as long as nobody profits from them

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.

Delaware Racinos

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

The Division of Business and Professional Regulation was founded during the late 2000s, and with it came the legalization of live poker games in Delaware. All three major casinos in the state host decent selections of live poker tables.

Delaware casinos with the most extensive poker table selections:

  • Delaware Park, 40+ poker tables
  • Dover Downs, 18 poker tables
  • Harrington Casino, ten poker tables

Social games of poker are legal in Delaware as long as they are played in a private residence and the host does not generate revenue from it. Players located in this state can also access online poker.

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.

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 Sportsbooks & Sports Betting

During the 1991 federal ban on sports betting, Delaware was one of four states exempted from the prohibition. Before the US Supreme Court’s decision to allow states to regulate sports gambling, Delaware didn’t offer much variety for sports wagering.

Today, Delaware rivals Nevada when it comes to sports gaming. In the summer of 2018, Delaware became the first state to take advantage of the Supreme Court ruling and expanded from three-team parlay bets – which required players to win on all the lines they bet on – to full-blown sports wagering. Single-bet wagers and future bets can now be placed at all three of Delaware’s major casinos.

Even though sports betting is available in Delaware 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.

eSports and fantasy gambling

It is unclear whether Delaware allows wagers on electronic sports (eSports). Several talks with eSports operators have been taking place, but legalization is still hazy. The rule of thumb is that if the Delaware iGaming Commision allows a gambling website to be accessed within the state, it is legal to make wagers on it.

In 2016, the Delaware Department of Justice prohibited real money wagers on daily fantasy sports (DFS) such as DraftKings and Fanduel. Since then, fantasy gaming has not been reintroduced.

Recently, House Bill 249 began to make its way through legislation channels, and it has been building momentum. HB 249 would reintroduce DFS gaming and allow popular operators to start collecting real money bets again. Once further revisions are made, the bill will be brought to the legislative floor.

Animal racing

Horse racing (and gambling on it) has been a part of the Delaware culture since the 1700s.

Delaware allows wagers on both horse and harness racing. Pari-mutuel wagers can be made off-track and on out-of-state horse races. The three casinos listed in the casino section are also Delaware’s three major horse racing tracks.

Horse racing and gambling are regulated by two separate entities – the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commision and the Delaware Harness Racing Commission.

The state’s law regulating betting on dog races is ambiguous. Greyhound racing is not hosted by any tracks in Delaware.

Lottery

Delaware offers various multi-state lottery options, such as:

  • Powerball
  • Mega Millions
  • Lucky for Life
  • Lotto America

Delaware also provides several lottery game variations with its in-state lottery that can be accessed in stores and at video terminals. These games include:

  • Play 3 and 4
  • Multi-Win Lotto
  • Keno

Lottery winners can keep 45% of the prize money; 30% goes to the Delaware General Fund in the form of state taxes, and the remaining amount covers lottery administration and expenses. Players must claim their winnings within one year; otherwise, the money is forfeit.

Bingo

When Bingo halls first opened up across Delaware, a single organization managed them all. Now, that organization has merged with the Division of Business and Professional Regulation.

Any business that is recognized as a charitable organization by the state of Delaware may host bingo events, which can include raffles and instant bingo tickets.

Delaware is home to many live bingo halls, including:

  • Holy Cross Church located in Dover
  • Elks Lodge located in Lewes
  • Aetna Fire Hall located in Newark
  • Fournier Hall located in Wilmington
  • The VFW located in Seaford

 

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 no 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 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.