In December 2011 the US Department of Justice decided that the 1961 Wire Act could only be applied where sports wagering was concerned. As we know this was the catalyst for many states in preparing themselves for the legalization of online gambling. Delaware and Nevada led the way and now with New Jersey on board the stage is set for many more to follow suit, and indeed they are. Delaware moved one step closer just the other week as their deadline for vendors to be considered for a license in the state was met. A total of 14 operators, software suppliers and more beat the deadline and submitted their requests for approval and as expected some of the giants of the online gaming world put themselves into the mix. The whole operation of online gaming will be operated by the Delaware Lottery and will not only offer poker, but casino games too, so it was Delaware Lottery Assistant Director Rebecca Goldsmith who made the announcement.
The two largest and indeed most recognizable names that are up for consideration are PokerStars and 888 Holdings. Stars will be looking to head back into the US market, much the same as they are doing in New Jersey with the purchase of the Atlantic City Hotel and Casino. That deal would of course allow them to also operate online poker within the state. That deal however is far from done, however as yet there has been no objections regarding their interest in Delaware. 888 Holdings meanwhile pulled out of the US market directly after UIGEA was passed and should have no problems at all, already holding a license in Nevada and deals lined up with Caesar's Interactive and others. Meaning that a dip in profits back then could lead to much bigger things moving forward.
While PokerStars and 888 are the largest names there are a few other big hitters who have applied. SHFL Entertainment, formerly Shuffle Master and International Gaming Technology have shown their interest as have the Canadian giants Amaya who own the Ongame Poker Network. Stan James and Continent 8 are two others. Delaware puts itself in a much different scenario in regards to Nevada in that it can offer casino games as opposed poker only. This means that online slots and table games will be seen in the state and offered to customers within the states borders. A huge point of not is that Delaware also has plans to offer an online sportsbook which may prove to be bigger than both poker and casino combined. So after the signing of the Delaware bill in June 2012 and a few stumbles since then it appears that Delaware is gearing up for a launch later this year, in fact the aim is to be up and running before the start of the NFL season. The whole online gambling bill means that not only poker and casino may be offered but also an estimated 100 keno sites and between 20 and 30 sports wagering sites. With Delaware pushing strong the race to be over the line first will be a very close one.