Delaware becomes first U.S. state to legalize online casino gambling

Jun 30, 2012 |
Delaware residents will be able to gamble online by 2013 after the state governor signed the Delaware Gaming Competitiveness Act of 2012 into law, fewer than 12 hours after the bill passed the state vote.

The same man who brought sports betting to Delaware, Gov. Jack Markell quickly turned the bill to law after a narrow and somewhat controversial vote. The Associate Press reports a Democratic lawmaker opposed the bill but backed it mistakenly thinking the bill was being amendment instead.

Those in favor of the law say this is a huge step forward for Delaware in its ongoing battle with neighboring states for gambling revenue. Pennsylvania and Maryland have both been increasing their casino options in an attempt to lure as many gamblers on the East Coast.

“We’re talking about a couple thousand jobs,” Markell told the Wilmington New Journal. “The competitive landscape for this industry has changed dramatically.”

The plan is to have blackjack, slots play, roulette, poker and other popular casino-style games available for online players by 2013. Geotargeting software will prevent people outside of Delaware from logging on and playing. 

Delaware is the only place outside of Nevada where U.S. residents can legally bet on sports, however, Delaware’s system is parlay/lottery style whereas Nevada offers single game wagering. New Jersey is fighting to have the same betting options as Nevada by the fall.

According to the Wilmington New Journal post, 2,500 Delaware residents are employed at state casinos and industry brings in $250 million annually in state tax dollars.

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