On June 5, 2018, Delaware governor John Carney went to Dover Downs Casino and placed a $10 bet on the Philadelphia Phillies to beat the Chicago Cubs. It was a watershed moment, not just for the state but for the entire country. It came just weeks after the Supreme Court decided to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 and allow states to introduce sports wagering. Delaware wasted no time in seizing upon the ruling and it quickly became the first state to offer sports betting, with Carney placing the very first bet. The move to roll out sports betting has already boosted the state’s coffers significantly, due to the tax benefits and knock-on economic gains it provides, and Carney also won his +200 (2/1) bet, trebling his money thanks to Zach Eflin’s inspired pitching.
“I was so confident the Phils would win that I’ve already spent the winnings – on a haircut before my 25th anniversary dinner with Tracey last night,” Carney Tweeted the following day, displaying amazing confidence considering the Phillies had lost six of eight and were clear underdogs against a Cubs team on a four-game winning streak. Carney promised that online sports betting would soon be rolled out, but said the state wanted to launch physical sportsbooks first. Gamblers can now go into three Delaware casinos – Dover Downs, Delaware Park and Harrington Raceway – and place bets of up to $1,000 on a team to win a single game or a future competition.
Pro capper Tom Barton was the first to place a bet at Delaware Park, dropping $1,000 on the Yankees to win the World Series at futures odds of +500. The three casinos took a combined $322,135 in their first day in operation. “For us, it’s really an enhancement of our tourism industry,” said Carney, predicting that it would help drive visitors to the state’s beaches as well as its casinos.
As of June 2018, Delaware residents can legally bet on MLB, NBA, NFL and the World Cup. Other sports that will eventually be offered for wagering include NHL, golf and college football. Wagers are capped at $1,000, but you can go beyond that if an administrating company approves it. William Hill, the UK’s largest bookmaker and a significant player in markets across the world, including Las Vegas, has been appointed as the exclusive risk manager for Delaware. It will analyze the gambler’s betting history and then make a call on whether the casino should accept the high stake or not.
The legalization of sports betting has been a long time coming. Sports fans in other parts of the world have long been amazed at the US ban on sports wagering, likening it to the Prohibition, and it seems only sensible that the Government has decided to regulate and tax something that was already widespread. Analyst firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming estimates that sports betting in Delware will initially be worth a minimum of $23.1 million to the state on an annual basis, and at least $49.6 million when online wagering is rolled out, allowing residents to bet on their favorite teams from the comfort of their armchairs, via a couple of taps of a screen.
Now that sports betting is going to become a much bigger deal in Delaware, we have launched a one-stop shop to arm you with all the information you need to make a success of it. Our site is packed full of all the information you need to thrive when it comes to NFL betting, because we know how popular the Eagles are in the First State. Punters illegally bet $4.6 billion on the 2018 Super Bowl, when the Eagles upset the odds to topple the mighty Patriots, and now the whole process is legal. No more offshore sites that could be raided, no more dubious bookies in dingy dens of iniquity – everything is now above board and served with a smile, backed by strict legislation that can inspire confidence from players.
As of yet, however, you have to head to the bricks and mortar casinos in Dover, Harrington or Wilmington. They are all fine establishments, and they provide a great social aspect and magnificent hospitality along with a place to bet, but the next step is to be able to do it from the comfort of your own armchair at home. Delaware has always been a trailblazer in this field and it became the first state to introduce online betting in November 2013. It rolled out video lottery, digital slots and table games for its residents, and the sites have been controlled by geolocation software, ensuring nobody outside Delaware can access them. Eventually New Jersey and Nevada – two of the other more progressive states in this field – joined it, and soon players in all three states were able to compete against each other as part of the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement.
After becoming the first state to introduce widespread online gambling, and the first state since the US Supreme Court struck down PASPA to introduce single game and futures sports betting, a logical step will be introducing online sports betting. It is sure to happen soon, but there are not yet any details on exactly when it will be introduced. Online betting in the state is linked to the three casinos, which all have associated websites controlled by the state lottery. No other sites are allowed to muscle into the market. It is highly likely that these three sites will be expanded to include sports betting, or that the three casinos will develop standalone sports betting sites to serve the Delaware market.
They will still face competition from offshore sites like 5Dimes, Bovada and Intertops, but eventually you would expect people to migrate to safe, secure, legal sites where you can be paid out quickly and trust the fairness of an operator that is strictly policed by the state lottery. Either way, exciting times lie ahead for Delaware residents, who will be able to choose between several competitive sites that offer sports wagering. As the legislation opens up in the months ahead, there will be countless opportunities to enjoy betting on the NFL and checking odds for NBA games will become part and parcel of daily life. It is a brave new world – welcome.