At 6 a.m. Wednesday morning, the three casinos in the state of Delaware launched free online sites for slot machines, poker, blackjack, and roulette. While today’s launch includes only for-fun gaming, the state is scheduled to launch real-money gambling by the end of October.
The online casino games are being offered by International Game Technology’s (NYSE: IGT) DoubleDown Interactive to anyone who logs-in with a Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) account. The three casinos offering the games are Dover Downs Hotel & Resort, Harrington Raceway & Casino, and Delaware Park.
Once the games are open for real-money betting only players inside the state of Delaware. Nevada and New Jersey have also legalized real-money gambling for state residents and real-money poker games are already available. Mobile apps for the games are expected to be available next year, and Delaware aims to sign a compact with Nevada that would allow online poker players in both states to sit down at the same tables.
Facebook’s DoubleDown Casino claims to have more than 5 million users for its casino gaming site. State regulators in Delaware are hoping that the free games will attract people to the state’s three casinos, where they can spend real money and boost the state’s tax receipts. State officials also hoped to add $3.75 million to the state’s coffers this year, but the roll-out of the gaming site has been slower. One official said, “We’re not sure how much revenue this is going to produce.”