Home NewsCasino RSI is the last bidder in Delaware Lottery RFP, after 888 pulled out of it’s RFP back in May

RSI is the last bidder in Delaware Lottery RFP, after 888 pulled out of it’s RFP back in May

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Delaware Lottery has a new igaming supplier after the current provider 888 Holdings pulled out of the tender in May.

Media reports claim that Rush Street Interactive and 888 were competing to run Delaware’s poker and online casino. In fact, Chicago-based operator was the sole bidder.

Delaware Lottery ends partnership with 888

According to sources close to the bid process, there were a lot of challenges and delays. This left bidders only a few weeks to respond to an extensive list of requests. The integrations included mobile sports betting even though state law only allows in-person gambling. iGB contacted lottery to get a comment.

The 2023 session of the legislature saw some progress, but it was not enough to bring about a change in mobile gambling regulation. The tendering process was then changed.

In 2013, 888 was awarded the contract to run the Delaware Lottery’s online gaming offering. The lottery uses it to run online poker and casino, as well as a retail sportsbook powered by OpenBet.

After launching an interstate poker offer in 2018, which connected players from Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada, the SI Sportsbook operator has extended its contract by two years for 2020.

Small market, lack of communication and high costs

RSI was the sole competitor. iGB is aware that the contract has not been signed yet, but an announcement should be made this week.

SI Sportsbook did not make any comment about its withdrawal.

Sources suggest that a lack communication by the lottery and the small market addressable, as well as the costs related to the technical specifications led 888 to withdraw its bid.

Delaware Lottery’s RFP for igaming is confusing

In January of this year, the Lottery issued a request for proposals that suggested it was changing its approach. The lottery was looking for a supplier who could offer online poker and icasino, as well as sports betting. This is illegal in this state.

It is acknowledged in the tender that it does not know if the partner will be able to launch online gambling. The document states that it could apply either at the time of contract launch, “at a later date” or not “at all” – i.e. outside of the scope of the RFP.

Live casino games caused more confusion. In the RFP, it asked for information on partners’ experiences in managing content from third parties including live dealers. Then in an addition to this document they stated that these games were not going to be offered.

888 as incumbent bid with Rush Street Interactive, Light & Wonder and reg tech specialists GeoComply, LexisNexis and LexisNexis.

Kambi, a provider of sportsbook software and live dealer specialists Evolution have joined forces.

What is the impact of Delaware’s igaming on HTML0?

RSI is a strong performer in the icasino sector, but it has not developed a product for poker. According to the website of the operator, a platform is in development.

However, the change will reduce poker liquidity significantly. Delaware is currently part of the 888 interstate poker network that connects New Jersey with Michigan, Nevada, and Michigan. If it were to leave this network, rules would need to change.

It is still unknown when the new gaming offering will be launched. Delaware Lottery said it would launch by 1 November. However, if an RSI powered offering has not been completed, 888 could temporarily extend their current agreement in order to prevent a service interruption.

First State gaming reset?

Brendan Bussmann, a strategy and advisory consultant at B Global Advisors, argues that this situation should lead to a revision of Delaware’s framework for betting and online gaming.

He told iGB that “it’s a disappointment to see an RFP fall apart, but it is either clear market expectations weren’t met by bidders who were interested or the expectations placed on a market which will remain comparatively small and further restricted by legislative and regulatory structures” were too high.

He continued, “It may be the right time to begin again.” While that may not necessarily be the best thing for the party still left, it is important to establish a path in order to achieve their goals. This will require legislation.

It is better to keep the incumbent in place, put the infrastructure into place and then start from scratch to meet stakeholder expectations.

Delaware’s gambling and internet gaming market is small

Delaware is the only state that allows in-person sports betting.

After Maryland’s launch in November 2022, it is the only state left in the area without mobile betting.

The three state casinos, Delaware Park (now Bally’s Downs), Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway, offer igaming. With a population around one million, it’s a relatively small market. Monthly igaming bets are around $40m with revenues just above $1m.

In June, according to the latest figures, players wagered $37.9m and generated a net profit of $1.1m.

Rush Street Interactive’s Lottery Experience

If RSI is announced to be the company that will power the Delaware Lottery igaming offerings, it wouldn’t be the first time the two companies have partnered.

The Connecticut Lottery signed a 10-year contract with it after winning a bid to provide mobile and retail betting services. In March of this year, it started to end that partnership. It will still power sports betting up until a new vendor is chosen.

National brands like BetMGM, Caesars and others may be interested in bidding for this contract after RSI won the award.

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