Delaware Brings Legal Internet Bingo Back to the US

The state of Delaware hopes to be the first in the country to offer online gambling to residents. Currently the state’s Lottery is accepting bids for online gambling service providers. Delaware officials requested proposals that permit online gaming companies to bid on providing services in the state. The state is seeking bids in several areas including game content, operations management, technology and support services. Between April 1st and the 12th vendors can make oral presentations to the Delaware Lottery.

Vendors submitting bids must have at least one year’s experience providing real money gaming services in Europe or North America. Unlike many states that plan to limit online gaming to poker Delaware plans to offer a wide variety of casino games and internet bingo to residents. Currently three states are proceeding with plans for online gaming; Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey. Nevada and New Jersey will limit services to online poker for now. In New Jersey the governor has proposed an annual review of internet gaming in the state.

Currently federal laws say that players must be physically located in Delaware to play. Player locations will be verified with geolocation software. Delaware lottery officials hope to have internet gaming in the state live by September 30th. Delaware’s internet gambling package calls for the awarding of all contracts by May. Delaware Lottery director Vernon Kirk says that he believes that no other state will beat Delaware’s timeline. Kirk stated “We have quite a head start. I’m not sure, based on where we are, how fast (New Jersey) could be.”

In 2012 the Delaware General Assembly passed the Delaware Gaming Competitiveness Act. Governor Jack Markell’s administration said that internet gambling would be available to residents in early 2013and that online bets would generate $3.75 million in revenue for fiscal 2013. Kirk said that an expansion of football parlay betting to non-casino venues and the establishment of a keno network pushed the state’s timeline back. Kirk told reporters “We did the whole sports lottery expansion, the Keno launch. These things were easy to say, but they were pretty involved to do. There was a little too much to do as simultaneously as we’d like.”

Gaming industry experts say Delaware will be the first to offer full service internet gambling in the US. Nelson Rose, a California law professor and gambling law expert said “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.” It also looks like Delaware will be the first state to bring legal internet bingo back to the United States.