Delaware Launch Sports Betting Industry

Delaware to Launch Sports Betting Industry June 5th

About two and a half weeks ago, the United States Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), opening the door for states to legalize and regulate sports betting. It was anticipated that a handful of states would get things ramped up within weeks. On Thursday, the Delaware Lottery announced that The First State will make good on its nickname, becoming the first state post-PASPA to launch a sports gambling industry on June 5th.

“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,” said Delaware Governor John Carney 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.”

As you may have assumed from the opening paragraph, sports betting will be overseen by the Delaware Lottery, which is itself overseen by the Delaware Department of Finance. All three of the state’s casinos – Delaware Park, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, and Harrington Raceway & Casino – will house sports books. These casinos are also the operators of Delaware’s online poker rooms, which use 888’s software and share player pools with in Nevada and New Jersey.

“We have worked closely with Delaware’s three casinos to train lottery and casino staff in preparation for a launch of expanded sports betting, and Delaware is prepared to move forward,” said Rick Geisenberger, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Finance. “We will continue to provide public updates and additional information through the Delaware Lottery ahead of next week’s launch.”

As mentioned, it was the Supreme Court’s striking-down of PASPA that has led to Delaware’s sports betting launch. PASPA made sports gambling illegal throughout the United States more than two and a half decades ago, though states that had regulated gambling for the ten years prior to PASPA were given one year to decide to be grandfathered in and be allowed to have a sports wagering industry. Delaware was actually one of the four states that did opt-in, but it has not had what one would call a “full-fledged” sports betting industry.

Right now, Delaware only permits parlay bets involving three or more games (as well as a similar bet, the teaser). People can buy parlay tickets at retailers around the states, just as they might buy a lottery ticket. And, similar to how most lotteries work, large wins can’t be cashed in at retail stores. Wins over $600 can only be cashed at the three casinos or the Delaware Lottery office, though some select retail outlets are permitted to cash tickets up to $1,500.

Nevada is the only state that has had traditional sports betting where people can bet on individual games and all sorts of other types of bets were are all accustomed to seeing and reading about. Oregon and Montana are the other two states that were grandfathered-in post-PASPA, but their offerings do not resemble those of Nevada or even Delaware.

When sports betting goes live on June 5th, gamblers in Delaware will be able to place wagers on single games in a wide array of sports: baseball, basketball, football, auto racing, golf, boxing, hockey, and soccer. Gambling on college games – often a sticky point in legalization talks – will be allowed, as well, though games involving Delaware-based schools will not be on the board.

When the Supreme Court nixed PASPA, most of the talk was that New Jersey was going to get its sports betting industry up and running in a hurry. That was only natural, as New Jersey was the state that was involved in the case, is an east coast gambling hub, and has been the most outspoken state when it comes to sports betting. But Delaware has been ready for this for a long time.

Shortly after the PASPA news broke, Geisenberger said that “The Delaware Lottery has had plans in place for months.”

Delaware has had a law set since 2009 that makes sports betting legal; it just had to wait for it to be permitted on the federal level. Heck, the state is so prepared for this that it has an in-depth “How to Bet Guide” on the Delaware Lottery website. It provides a glossary of betting terms and a rundown – with examples – of the types of wagers that will be available for each sport.

There is no word yet as to whether or not online and mobile sports gambling will be allowed or available in Delaware. The Wire Act (and the 2011 clarification by the Department of Justice) prohibits interstate online sports betting, but intrastate – within state borders – is allowed. Mobile sports betting is accessible in Nevada. One might guess that, especially considering Delaware is one of the few states to have online gambling, mobile sports betting might become a reality at some point.


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