Delaware Launchs Sports Betting

The First State has become the first state to offer full-scale sports betting. Delaware, by virtue of being grandfathered by PASPA, already has a sports betting law and regulations in place, but now will be able to accept wagers on a wide variety of sports with single-game action. Dover Downs (l.) and two other casinos will open on June 5.

Delaware will become the first state outside of Nevada to offer a full menu of sports betting when it launches its sports books on June 5. The state was one of four that were grandfathered in when sports betting was made illegal nationwide by the now overturned Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

In 2008, Delaware passed a law permitting full sports betting. But when a lawsuit by the professional leagues limited the wagering in Delaware to parlay wagers only on the NFL (the form of sports betting covered by the grandfathering), the anticipated revenues were significantly cut.

But because the law and regulations are already in place, it only took the swipe of a pen by Delaware Governor John Carney to start the action. Initially, the three Delaware casinos—Dover Downs, Delaware Park and Harrington Raceway—will begin taking single game wagers on baseball, football, hockey, basketball, soccer, golf and auto racing. The betting, like all Delaware gaming, will be funneled through the state lottery.

It’s unclear if the bars and restaurants that also took the NFL parlay bets will be able to participate any time soon.

“Delaware has all necessary legal and regulatory authority to move forward with a full-scale sports gaming operation, and we look forward to next week’s launch,” Carney said in a press release. “We’re hopeful that this will bring even more visitors into Delaware to see firsthand what our state has to offer.”

In an interview with SportsHandle, Delaware Lottery Vernon Kirk said his agency has been ready since 2009, so he didn’t consider it a competition about who would open first.

“Honestly, New Jersey never came into our plans one way or the other,” Kirk said. “We didn’t try to be first or beat them or anything. It’s just, we’re ready, so we’re going to go. It’s not that big a deal, frankly.”

Delaware’s sports betting provider is Scientific Games, which in turn employs William Hill US to handle the risk management with the program.

“In anticipation of the Supreme Court’s ruling on PASPA, we have been working with Scientific Games, our longtime sports betting provider, as well as training our lottery and casino staff, so that we were ready to launch full-scale, head-to-head betting on single games,” said Kirk.

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