Delaware’s online poker enthusiasts are on the brink of a significant blackout period as the state bids adieu to the established 888 platform, making way for Rush Street Interactive’s (RSI) Run It Once (RIO) Poker.
The Countdown Begins for RIO’s Debut Amid Online Poker Blackout Confirmed by the Delaware Lottery, the impending blackout has left players in anticipation, uncertain about the duration of this unforeseen hiatus. This transition marks RSI’s exclusive entrance into regulated online gaming in Delaware, displacing the familiar 888. While the blackout is imminent, the exact launch timeline for RIO’s debut remains veiled in ambiguity.
For Delawareans, this shift signifies a historic moment as they prepare for an unprecedented move from regulated, real-money online poker to an unknown blackout period. The Delaware Lottery’s social media statement affirmed the upcoming shutdown of all online casino and poker platforms in the ensuing weeks.
Interestingly, while the casino and sports betting services gear up for a grand relaunch, online poker will notably be absent—at least initially.
RSI’s Acquisition of RIO and Hope for Online Poker Revival RSI’s acquisition of RIO for $5.8 million earlier this year paved the way for the introduction of a fourth player into the US online poker market, dominated by PokerStars, World Series of Poker (WSOP), and BetMGM Poker.
Delaware, a part of the WSOP/888 US Network since 2013, anticipates a revival of online poker with RSI’s arrival. The Delaware Lottery’s Director, Helene Keeley, expressed optimism about collaborating with RSI to reinstate online poker, yet refrained from specifying a precise timeline. While RSI executives hinted at a potential 2024 launch for RIO Poker, the exact schedule remains uncertain, possibly in the first quarter or beyond.
Transitioning from 888’s Decade-Long Tenure In January, the Delaware Lottery initiated the quest for a new iGaming partner, potentially concluding 888’s nearly ten-year exclusive tenure. With only three operators meeting stringent criteria—888, BetMGM, and PokerStars—the competition was fierce, particularly focusing on online sports betting, an area where 888 faced challenges.
As Delaware braces for the blackout, players were notified that their account details and remaining funds will not seamlessly transfer to the new platforms. RIO’s anticipated launch is expected to extend across multiple states simultaneously, courtesy of Delaware’s participation in the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA).
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