Delaware has become the first US state to legalise online gaming after the governor’s approval of legislation on Thursday allowing for full-service betting websites.
Governor Jack Markell signed the Delaware Gaming Competitiveness Act of 2012 a day after the bill passed the state Senate, USA Today reported.
Supporters praised the new legislation as a way of helping the state’s struggling casino industry, which is facing aggressive competition from new gambling venues in the neighbouring states of Maryland and Pennsylvania.
“We’re talking about a couple thousand jobs,” Markell said. “The competitive landscape for this industry has changed dramatically.”
The new legislation allows for online slots and online casino games such as blackjack and poker through betting websites controlled centrally by the state Lottery Office. State lottery tickets will also be available for sale on a state-run website.
US federal law, however, limits online gambling to players within the state’s borders, which will be verified using geolocation software.
The state is looking to launch online gambling in 2013 and plans to make betting available on a variety of devices including smartphones and tablets.
Other US states currently offer online lottery ticket sales and Nevada is edging towards the implementation of online poker, but Delaware is the first state to legalise comprehensive online casino gaming.
Delaware casinos employ approximately 2,500 people, with legalised gambling generating over $250 million in state revenue annually.
“We can help protect the jobs and this revenue source for our state,” said Senate President Pro Tem Anthony DeLuca, the lead Senate sponsor of the bill.
“We can keep Delaware at the forefront of developing new and better gambling options,” he said.
The Department of Finance estimated the new online gaming websites would generate $7.75 million in state revenue for the fiscal year 2013.View Comments