Delaware's three racetrack casinos will go live with their real-money online gaming offerings Friday, giving the first US state another first in the form of a full legal suite of online casino games.
Under the supervision of the Delaware Lottery, Dover Downs, Delaware Park and Harrington Raceway will open their virtual casino doors to players in the state over the age of 21, initially offering online slots, blackjack, roulette and poker.
Scientific Games (SG) serves as the lead vendor to the Delaware Lottery and is working in close partnership with Gibraltar-based 888 Holdings, which provides the online poker and casino platforms, with SG subsidiary WMS Interactive providing additional game content.
IGT is also expected to provide online games to the Delaware Lottery in the near future.
SG chief executive Lorne Weil described the launch as "the first comprehensive iGaming offering in the US".
The three Delaware online casinos will be competing for a share of a very limited market given the state's population of less than one million. Delaware officials expect just $5m in revenue in the current fiscal year from online gaming, with the focus on attracting new, younger players as opposed to boosting gaming revenue.
888 business development director Yaniv Sherman said in an interview with Gaming Intelligence in September that the "baseline assumption was that this is not a big market."
"You cannot bank on Delaware residents alone," he said. "There is not a sustainable critical mass. But just like Nevada and New Jersey, there is a great deal of gaming tourism."
To participate in online gaming in Delaware, players need only to be present within the state, and Sherman expects major events such as the NASCAR race weekend at Dover International Speedway to attract players to the online offerings, with mobile gaming expected to play an important part in this.