Delaware considers inter-state online poker

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Feb 14, 2013 Posted in Online Poker News, US Poker News | No Comments »

betonlineAccording to a report in USA Today, Delaware is considering some very radical steps as they gear-up for a possible real-money launch in the state as early as this fall. According to the article, Delaware is giving serious consideration to teaming up with Nevada (and other willing states) to offer inter-state online poker. Perhaps even more appealing to online poker players was the idea floated by Frank Fantini, a gaming industry analyst, who suggested Delaware could even look abroad for potential partners.

Fantini states in the USA Today article: “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.”

Delaware’s Lottery Director, Vernon Kirk, made an alliance with Nevada (another thinly populated state) seems almost certain: “I think they would make a good partner. We’ll see what New Jersey does, and there’s even been discussion that (compacts) wouldn’t necessarily exclude Europe,”

The problem Delaware, Nevada, and other smaller states face with legalized online poker is attracting enough players to make online poker companies solvent, and the answer all along has been to move towards inter-state online poker, and leaving intra-state online poker to states like New Jersey, New York, and California –although even these states will likely consider the benefits of a combined player-pool, especially if Delaware is right, and partnerships can be formed worldwide.

The Delaware bill is also the first to legalize online gaming and not just carve out a place for online poker. Gambling law expert and poker advocate I. Nelson Rose sees Delaware as an important state in battle for legalized online gaming, and expects competition for a Delaware license to be high: “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.”

The one issue Delaware may find is in the expansion of its football betting, as the Department of Justice does not exempt sports-betting from its latest opinion on the 1961 Wire Act. The DOJ’s decision was the impetus for states to start passing online gaming legislation, as the DOJ specifically stated that the Wire Act only applies to sports-betting –prior to this the law was being applied ambiguously to all forms of Internet gaming.


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