Gambling Laws in DE – A Brief History
Before we explore the Gaming Commission in Delaware, it is useful to know the gambling laws that are part of the Delaware General Code. Gambling regulation in Delaware can be traced back to 1933, when the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission and the Harness Racing Commission were established to regulate legal horse racing betting in Delaware. The state’s first legal betting racetrack, Delaware Park, was opened in 1937.
In 1974, legislation was enacted to allow for a traditional lottery. The Delaware State Lottery was created with the aim of maximizing revenue contributions to the State’s General Fund. In 1994, the Horse Racing Preservation Act was enacted. This Act enabled the Delaware Lottery to expand their gambling games selection to include video lottery machines. As such, the state’s three racetracks (Dover Downs, Delaware Park, and Harrington Raceway) were permitted to offer slot machines.
In 2010, new legislation was passed enabling the State Lottery to allow the state’s “racinos” to offer table games such as roulette, blackjack, and poker. This legislation also established the Delaware Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE).
The next key piece of gambling legislation was introduced in 2012. The Delaware Gaming Competitiveness Act of 2012 allowed for legalized online gambling within the state. This made Delaware the first state to allow online casino gambling and legal US casino sites were launched in the state in 2013. By 2014, all three of Delaware’s casinos offered online casino games to DE residents.
Delaware also led the way regarding legalized sports betting. The state was one of the few to have exemptions from the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA) of 1992. As such, 3-team parlays on NFL games were legal in the state. When PAPSA was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2018, DE was one of the first states to legalize sports betting online, taking the first full sports bet the same year.
Delaware Gaming Regulatory Authorities
Gambling in Delaware is licensed and regulated by the Delaware Lottery. The Delaware Division of Gaming Enforcement works closely with the State Lottery Office to ensure that gambling stays crime-free. While the DGE is often referred to as the Delaware Gaming Commission, both authorities are responsible for gaming regulation in the state. The Lottery Office is a department of the Delaware Department of Finance. While the DGE falls under the supervision of the Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security.
The Delaware State Lottery Office
Established in 1974, the Delaware State Lottery was created to generate income for the state’s General Fund. By expanding the types of legalized gambling permitted in the state, the Lottery is able to generate a large portion of funds for services in the state that would otherwise be drawn through higher taxes. The types of legal gambling that are operated by the Delaware Lottery include:
- Video Lottery
- Casino Table Games
- Full Scale Sports Betting
- Sports Lottery
- Traditional Lottery Games
The State Lottery Office is responsible for licensing legal gambling in DE. A Delaware gaming license is required by all individuals that provide gambling services in the state. This applies to all gaming employees, not only key employees. All applications and supporting evidence for a gaming license is submitted to the Lottery. The Office then forwards the application to the DGE to carry out necessary background checks.
“To maximize revenue contributions to the State’s General Fund, thereby helping to fund the delivery of governmental services to the people of Delaware.”
Delaware State Lottery Mission Statement
The Lottery Office allocates a proportion of Delaware gaming revenue to the state General Fund. The funds are used for a range of services, including education of youths, crime and pollution prevention, and healthcare. Below, we have listed Delaware annual gaming revenue for the last five fiscal years (year ending 30 June). You can also see how much revenue has been contributed each year to the Delaware General Fund. All figures are in millions:
|Casino License Fees||$0.2||$3.2||$3.2||$3.2||$3.2|
|General Fund Contributions||$213.8||$213.3||$204.4||$211.5||$201.7|
In the 2019 fiscal year, a record $213.8 million was contributed to the General Fund through legal gambling in the state. Since 1975, the Lottery has contributed $5.4 billion to Delaware’s General Fund. The State Lottery is the General Fund’s fourth-largest revenue generator.
We have collated some key details and contact information for the Delaware Lottery below:
|Gambling Regulator:||Delaware Lottery Office|
|Division of:||Delaware Department of Finance|
|Address:||1575 McKee Road, Suite 102, Dover, DE 19904|
|Office Email:||Website Contact Form|
The Delaware Division of Gaming Enforcement
When House Bill 310 was passed by the General Assembly in 2010, the Delaware Division of Gaming Enforcement was established. The Delaware Gaming Enforcement division is responsible for enforcing state laws relating to casino gaming in DE’s casinos. The office has exclusive jurisdiction for criminal offences pertaining to any gaming that takes place in licensed video lottery facilities. They also investigate any offences related to the operation of the State Lottery.
“The Delaware Division of Gaming Enforcement is committed to ensuring the integrity of Delaware’s gaming industry.”
DGE Mission Statement
The DGE is tasked with ensuring the integrity of the gaming industry in Delaware. This is achieved through a series of measures. These include:
- Licensing background investigations
- Criminal engorcement and investigations
- Gathering Intelligence
Under the Delaware Code, gaming venues, vendors and employees require a Delaware gaming license issued by the Lottery Office. In a similar way to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, a key part of the DGE’s role is to investigate any gaming license applications. The Gaming Enforcement Division carries out thorough background checks on all applicants. They assess the qualifications and suitability of all employees within the casino industry before authorizing a license request.
The DGE is comprised of Delaware State Police officers and the Division on Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement. This task force model allows the DGE to draw upon the expertise of various departments to conduct investigations and uphold the legality and integrity of gaming operations within the state. The DGE displays an involuntary exclusion list on their website. This is a measure put in place to exclude anyone who has proven inimical to the integrity of the State Lottery.
The DGE also provides assistance to the Delaware Lottery regarding its rules and regulations. They gather information from various sources to help develop plans to effectively and efficiently regulate gaming activities. They aim to maintain public confidence and trust in the state’s gaming industry.
In the table below, you can find important facts and details about the Delaware Gaming Enforcement Division:
|Gambling Regulator:||Delaware Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE)|
|Supervised by:||Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security|
|Office Address:||655 Bay Road, Blue Hen Corporate Centre Suite 1A, Dover, DE 19901|
|Mailing Address:||Division of Gaming Enforcement, P.O. Box 818, Dover, DE 19903-0818|
|Crime Reporting Hotline:||(302) 526-5852|
Problem Gambling Support in DE
The Delaware Gaming Commission places a focus on promoting responsible gambling. A “play responsibly” message is required on all gambling products legally provided by the Delaware Lottery. Furthermore, all gambling games and advertisements must offer the helpline number of the Delaware Council on Problem Gambling. (1-888-850-8888). Delaware residents must be 18 years old to play the traditional lottery. While you must be 21 or over to play table games, video lottery, sports lottery, and online gambling games.
A portion of all proceeds from gambling in Delaware are allocated to the Department of Health and Social Services to fund problem gambler programs in the state. In 2019, the Lottery contributed over $1.6 million to the cause. On both the Lottery and the Delaware Gaming Enforcement websites, you can find contact details for various problem gambling support groups, including the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), Gam-Anon, and Gambler’s Anonymous.
If you came to this page wanting to know more about the Delaware Gaming Commission, we hope you found our post useful. If you still have any questions, then check out the next section. We have collated the most frequently asked questions and provided concise answers with all the details you need.