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Silvia Pavlof December 21, 2023 3 min read
Delaware Poker Players Face Online Blackout Amid Transition to New Operator
Players have received notification that the transfer of account details and remaining bankroll funds to the new platform will not occur seamlessly
Delaware is gearing up for a significant online poker blackout period as it bids farewell to the familiar 888 platform, making way for Rush Street Interactive (RSI) to take the reins with its Run It Once (RIO) Poker.
The Countdown to RIO’s Debut Begins Amid Online Poker Blackout
The Delaware Lottery recently confirmed the imminent blackout, leaving players in suspense about the duration of this unexpected hiatus. The transition is part of RSI’s endeavor to become the exclusive provider for regulated online gaming in Delaware, ousting the established 888. While the blackout is certain, the exact timeline for RIO’s debut in the state remains shrouded in uncertainty.
For Delawareans, this marks a historic moment as they prepare to experience the unprecedented shift from accessible, regulated real-money online poker to an uncharted blackout period. The Delware Lottery, in a statement posted on social media, affirmed that all online casino and poker platforms would undergo shutdowns in the coming weeks.
Interestingly, while the casino and sports betting services are poised for a grand relaunch, online poker will be notably absent—at least initially.
In March, RSI acquired RIO for $5.8 million thus introducing a fourth player into the US online poker market, currently dominated by PokerStars, World Series of Poker (WSOP), and BetMGM Poker.
RSI Sparks Hope for a Revival of Online Poker in Delaware
Delaware has been a part of the WSOP/888 US Network since 2013, but the forthcoming switch to RSI brings hope for a revival of online poker in the state.
The Lottery Director, Helene Keeley, expressed optimism about working with RSI to make online poker available, though refraining from divulging a specific timeline. RSI executives, however, have indicated a potential launch of RIO Poker in 2024, possibly in the first quarter or after that.
In January, The Delaware Lottery initiated the process of seeking a new iGaming partner by issuing a request for proposal (RFP), potentially ending 888’s nearly 10-year exclusive tenure. With only three operators meeting the strict criteria, including 888, BetMGM, and PokerStars, the competition was intense, especially considering the emphasis on online sports betting experience, an area where 888 lagged behind.
As the small but vibrant state of Delaware braces for the blackout, players have been informed that account details and remaining bankroll funds will not seamlessly transfer to the new platforms. RIO’s launch, when it does happen, is expected to encompass multiple states simultaneously, thanks to Delaware’s participation in the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA).