The Delaware Lottery confirmed that it has reached an agreement with an international gaming company, under which it will be able to introduce online sportsbook services in the state for the first time ever. Under the provisions of the agreement, it will also be able to take over the already existing online casino games in Delaware.
The only platform that has been used by the state since the inception of online gambling back in 2013 – 888 Gaming – is set to be replaced by Rush Street Interactive. They were the only companies that responded to the Delaware Lottery’s request for bids as part of a selection process. The change has been approved by a selection committee consisting of state officials and lottery staff.
As Helene Keeley, the Director of the Delaware Lottery, revealed, Rish Street Interactive is expected to start operation in the state in early winter. Currently, the Lottery is having talks with 888 Gaming, as it is seeking to extend their current agreement which is scheduled to expire at the end of October.
Online casino games will be offered through the existing brick-and-mortar casinos in the state – Bally’s Dover, Delaware Park, and Harrington Raceway and Casino. Each of them is set to be working in collaboration with Rush Street Interactive over the coming months in order to come up with new user interfaces. The online casino games will be offered under the aforementioned casinos’ branding, and the betting odds will be the same across each of the three casinos.
The new partner of the Delaware Lottery is not set to start offering online poker services at launch. Rush Street Interactive is currently developing a poker platform that is not yet operational. For the time being, the official launch date of the platform remains unknown.
Online Sports Betting Coming to Delaware Regardless of Some Lawmakers’ Concerns
Lottery officials made a decision to implement digital sports betting services regardless of the concerns shared by a group of Delaware lawmakers who have felt that the proposed system would bring too many restrictions to the sector. The group further asked why gambling behemoths such as DraftKings and FanDuel were not interested in the bidding process.
A working group was formed during Delaware’s legislative session to provide some recommendations on how to act in terms of online sports betting services. The state’s Lottery agreed to put the implementation of the service on hold as the working group held a meeting. After the session ends, the group is expected to provide the Lottery with a report containing its recommendations.
Ms. Keeley noted that there is nothing to stop local lawmakers from passing a law that is set to change Delaware’s sports betting and online gambling systems’ parameters.
For the time being, Delaware is one of the few US states that puts sports betting and casino games in the scope of the state lottery office. On the other hand, the Lottery is required to operate the aforementioned games in the best possible way to guarantee the best income for the state.
Local lottery officials have managed to resist the addition of online sports betting services for years but their position eventually changed late in 2023, when the state of Maryland officially launched online sportsbook services, leaving Delaware as the last state in the region that did not offer an online sports betting option for its customers.