Delaware may become the very first state to offer online bingo games to residents. The state is now poised to become the very first state to legalize online gambling. Currently Nevada plans to limit online gambling to poker but many in the industry say that if all goes well Nevada could possibly offer other casino games and online bingo to residents. In New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed a second online gambling bill but said he would sign the measure of certain changes were made and the tax rates were hiked. The legislature plans to have a revised bill on his desk by early March.
Currently land based gambling in Delaware generates about $250 million in taxes annually and online gambling will provide the state with another lucrative revenue stream. The gambling industry in Delaware employs about 2,500 people and online gambling will create more jobs. Under the terms of Delaware’s online gaming law players participating in online games must be located physically located in Delaware. The state of Delaware estimated that online gambling will bring in as much as $7.75 million in 2013.
In Delaware most gambling is done at the three casinos in the state. Delaware hopes to have 100 new casino and online bingo sites and 20 sportsbetting sites. Most gambling industry experts say that Delaware will be the first state to offer full service online gambling in the US. Many big players in the gambling industry have partnered with European online gaming companies that have extensive experience. This is important because Delaware’s law requires gambling vendors to have at least one year’s experience operating a legal online gaming operation in Europe or North America.
Nelson Rose, a California law professor and gambling law expert pointed out that “From an industry standpoint, those RFPs from Delaware are very important. Whoever gets in Delaware has an advantage of getting future contracts. Think of all the press that gets, the name recognition.” European gaming operators have waited for years to enter the lucrative US online gaming market. Many believe the next step will be for states to share players and the revenues they generate through the use of interstate compacts. Compacts are already in place for multi-state lotteries like Powerball and Mega Millions and slots that share big jackpots across state lines.
Some in the industry say that because Delaware is so small it will be difficult for the state to maintain a sustainable online gaming industry. Frank Fantini, a casino industry analyst, stated “The big issue in Delaware is whether it’s so darn small that it can really have an effective online business all by itself, and the biggest issue is poker. You need enough people playing online at one time that a player can go on and find a game that fits his price and his skill level, whether it’s 4 o’clock in the afternoon or 4 o’clock in the morning.” For now it looks like online bingo players in Delaware will enjoy the first legal games in the United States.