Legal Delaware Poker Sites

Delaware Poker Laws

Is Online Poker / Gambling Legal in Delaware?

Almost without exception, poker players in Delaware are a frustrated lot. The state of Delaware’s poker laws ban most forms of gambling, including poker and other card games. There are no casinos in the state of Delaware, and as we’ll see, even private home poker games are a potentially illegal event. Even so, this state doesn’t have the toughest poker laws in the US, though they definitely crack the list of top 10 anti-poker states in America.

Delaware State Law: Position on Poker

Most people know that Delaware recently passed a law to regulate online poker and other forms of online gambling, but it's a safe bet that residents probably know a good deal less about that state's legal position on playing poker for real money.

So where does poker fit in when it comes to Delaware gambling law? The game is considered to be gambling when played for real money.

While Delaware does not have the direct definition of "gambling" that you'll typically find in state gambling law, the portions of the statute relevant to gambling provide a de facto definition for the activity. Games played with "cards" are considered gambling when something of value is at risk (see Section 1406 of Delaware state code). And while many might not consider poker to be a "game of chance," a Delaware court decision in the case of State v. Titlemen ruled that poker - at least for the purposes of Delaware law - is exactly that.
The result: Real-money poker games are only legal in Delaware under some specific conditions.
The first condition: If the game takes place in a facility licensed to offer gambling, such as state-regulated racetracks like Dover Downs and Delaware Park.

If you're not keen on an evening at the track, you have another option - playing at home. Unlike some other states, Delaware doesn't make a specific exception for social gambling, but the consensus of the relevant case law on the issue is that home poker games are legal - given that they're not run as a for-profit operation.

Your final option: Charitable gambling. Under the current regulations (see Title 28, Chapter 11 of Delaware code), approved organizations may offer poker tournaments at licensed charitable gambling events. The Board of Charitable Gambling oversees such events in the state of Delaware

Card Games in Delaware

The Blue Hen State is completely devoid of any real casinos or card rooms. The simple reason for this is that the state law doesn’t allow for these organizations to exist. Very few exceptions to the state’s anti-gaming laws exist.

Delaware citizens and visitors to the state can play poker within state lines under one condition only: at a non-profit game arranged by what the state calls “charitable organizations” in order to raise money for those groups. Organizing these games is no easy feat either; to run such a game, you must first apply for a license from the state, which requires time and paperwork. Even if you get a license for a fundraiser poker event, the state has established betting limits as well as limits on the length of time and how much poker you can play.
According to the state code 1827, called “Limitations of Poker tournaments,” you can’t hold more than 5 tournaments per calendar year, no less than 70 days apart. You can’t start playing until 1:30 in the afternoon, not for more than 6 hours, and you have to stop playing by 1:00 a.m.

Are Home Poker Games Legal in Delaware?

The answer to this question isn’t totally clear. In the past, several Delaware District Attorneys have stated specifically that all forms of gambling, including poker, are illegal, no matter the circumstances. Unlike other states that allow for private games under the right conditions, even games where the host doesn’t rake the pot or charge entry fees appear to be technically illegal. Also unlike other states, citizens of Delaware have been arrested in the past for hosting private poker games.

Learn About Other State Laws

Online Poker Legality in Delaware

As is often the case in the USA, the state laws in Delaware do not yet address the legality of online wagering. The same arguments made in other states about antiquated language applying to online gaming are often made in Delaware, but the truth is that it is unclear whether or not online gambling is allowed in this state. The likelihood that the state can monitor your Internet activity enough to know you’ve been playing online games is low, and since the state of Delaware has yet to arrest a single online gamer, you’re probably safe to play at online casinos within state lines.

Delaware is not an ideal state for a poker player to choose as a home base. The laws, and the translation of those laws by state officials, are set up to make all forms of gaming illegal, for the time being.

Learn more about gambling and poker law in Delaware here: