Delaware Lottery Director: Online Poker Set To Launch On Halloween
Nevada Is Already 'Anxious To Compact' With The State
The launch of Delaware real-money online poker doesn’t seem to be generating quite the fanfare of Nevada or New Jersey, but everything is still looking good for a kickoff on Halloween, the state’s lottery director told Card Player on Friday.
Its moves into the online space have made Nevada “anxious to compact with us,” Delaware Lottery Director Vernon Kirk said. The Silver State launched online poker back in April.
Delaware has less than a million people and just a few gambling facilities, but that hasn’t stopped it from being very concerned with regional competition for gamblers.
The state launched free-play games back in August.
Card Player had the chance to ask Kirk about a few topics related to the launch.
Brian Pempus: Have things been going pretty smoothly with preparing for this launch?
Vernon Kirk: It has been a challenge. I think smoothly might overstate the case. It is a pretty big technological challenge and our schedule has been pretty aggressive. There are just a lot of moving pieces to this. All of the stuff that the public will never see, but stuff that is really important.
BP: Have the free games have been a solid trial run for you guys?
VK: They have attracted a lot of interest. The free-play is from DoubleDown, and so those games won’t be the games that will be involved in the [real-money] iGaming solution. The free games were more about the casinos creating the beginnings of a market database, rather than a learning experience. But they have been popular. The casinos are happy with the free games.
BP: Are you going to keep the free games around once real-money play begins?
VK: We are still kicking that around. DoubleDown will not be involved with the [real-money play], but whether we keep it up on our casinos’ websites as a fun thing we aren’t quite sure yet. My guess is that we will leave it up for a little while and then take it down. There is free play on the pay site that we will be utilizing. Eventually IGT will provide game content, but just not in the beginning and probably not table game type stuff.
BP: Which games are you planning to have available on Oct. 31? Is poker one of them?
VK: Yes, we are doing poker. Some [video lottery terminals], some video poker, some slot machines. We are kind of restricted right now because of the integration piece to our service provider, which is 888 Holdings. So we are restricted to those games for launch. They are working with other game content providers for integration, but it will still be awhile.
BP: What role does Scientific Games have in all of this?
VK: 888 is the platform provider, and Scientific Games will be what we call the primary vendor. They are coordinating all the pieces of the puzzle. They are the responsible vendor to us. They do the payment processing, the geo-location, the player identification, and so on. That is all being coordinated by the people at Scientific Games.
BP: Has there been talk of partnering with either New Jersey or Nevada in order to get more players involved with Delaware’s online gaming?
VK: We have had conversations with both states, and it’s a little bit too early in the process to project how that is going to work out. My guess is that, certainly with Nevada, they are definitely anxious to compact with us, and us to them likewise. Once we get up and running we will be pursuing that more aggressively. Right now we are just concentrating on getting our site up. But that will be one of the very first steps we take after launch.
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