Aug. 28, 2013 – The Delaware Lottery this morning launched free online casino games through Facebook app DoubleDown Casino. The free games are the first step towards real-money online casino games, which Delaware’s lawmakers approved last year.
Once the real-money online games open, Delaware will be “the first state” once more, leading the nation into the digital frontier of online casino games (or, at least, more than just one game – Nevada already allows online poker).
The free play through DoubleDown Casino began at 6 A.M., when the three Delaware casinos posted links to the Facebook app on their own websites.
“This first phase will allow us to really get the players acclimated to the virtual world in a legalized environment,” said Tom Cook, Delaware secretary of finance.
While the free games that launched this morning will be available worldwide, Delaware will use location-tracking technology to limit real-money play to people who are in the state when they log on.
The introductory period for players will last longer than officials originally expected. When a contract for the online operations was awarded to Scientific Games and UK-based 888 Hastings earlier this year, the target launch date for real-money games was September.
Cook called that “an agressive goal,” adding, “I said from the beginning, this is something that, when it’s ready, it’s ready.”
The launch of the real-money games has only been delayed by a month, but when the single-portal, real-money online casino opens, it won’t be the end of Delaware’s gambling innovation.
DelawareOnline.com reported that in 2014 Cook will attempt to sign an agreement with Nevada gaming officials that would allow poker players from both states to “sit at the same virtual tables”.
New Jersey is close behind Delaware in the race to online casino gaming. Officials there have set a target launch date for real-money games for this November. Reports indicate they are also in talks to sign a compact with Nevada that would allow multi-state online poker.
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren, discussing the possibility of an agreement with New Jersey officials, told Reuters earlier this month “We’ve really been focusing on Nevada’s ability to compact with other states, create more liquidity.”