Sports Betting Delaware
It is neither the biggest nor the most influential state in the sports betting realm. However, the state of Delaware was the second state to legalize and accept wagers after Nevada. Yes, the state of Delaware beat New Jersey – the state responsible for the supreme court decision to strike down PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act), the law that deemed sports betting illegal in the US.
But, despite their fast legislation which allowed Delaware to start accepting wagers June 5th, less than a month after the Supreme Court ruling, is the sports betting landscape shaping up as well as it would be expected to? Is it a top sports betting state? And most importantly, is online sports betting Delaware legal?
Well, the truth is that despite their fast legislative actions, the state of Delaware has been overtaken by the states of New Jersey and West Virginia. For starters, the state only has three of its casinos licensed as sportsbooks. There also is the fact that the legislation necessary for the licensing of online sports betting is not getting enacted as fast as would have been expected. The three casinos that currently offer Delaware Park, Dover Downs, as well as Harrington. Players can place wagers on sports in any of these three sportsbooks as long as they are older than 21 years.
Note: while online sports betting is slowly shaping up in Delaware, it should be noted that online gambling and online casinos have been legal since 2012. The only catch is that the online casino/ gambling licenses have to be brick-and-mortar casinos. The three casinos above are legalized to offer in-person sports betting services.
Online Sports Betting in Delaware
In-person sports betting is legal and is licensed and regulated by the Delaware Lottery Licensing Commission. The commission regulates the land-based casinos as well as the racetracks accepting in-person wagers on sports.
While players remain optimistic, online and mobile wagering is not legal yet, neither is it regulated.
While betting on sporting events like football, baseball, soccer, tennis, or golf online is yet to be legalized, fans can bet on daily fantasy sports (DFS), horse and greyhound racing.
Before we look at DFS and betting on races, let’s first look at the history of sports betting in Delaware.
Sports Betting History
On 5th June 2018, the state of Delaware accepted its first wager on sports. Delaware beat New Jersey, an unlikely scenario if you look at the two states now, but there is a reason for this.
While sports betting was rendered illegal across the country for decades by PASPA, two states had a leeway – Nevada, and Delaware. We all know that Nevada is the home of betting and has been dubbed the grandfather of sports betting. However, one thing misses from this – the fact that the state of Delaware also had some form of legal sports betting before May 14th, 2018. Nevada ran the full sports betting suite where it accepted wagers on sports for single games from 1992. But, Delaware ran things at a smaller scale, offering parlays for at least 3 NFL games. So, even if you didn’t get the whole sports betting experience, you got a taste of things while sports betting remained illegal in other states.
Why did Delaware pass the sports betting legislation fast?
In 2009, the state took things further to edge closer to Nevada when the then Governor Jack Markell signed into law a bill that saw the state expand its sports betting services from parlays to single-game wagers. Unfortunately, they lost this suit because of a PASPA determination which noted that the bill (as well as its regulations) fell out of the scope of PASPA), hence illegal. Despite this setback, the bill was never repealed formerly hence the fast implementation of single-game wagers soon after PASPA was banned (deemed unconstitutional) by the Supreme Court. By the bill being in the books since its rejection in 2009, the state of Delaware had the upper hand in legalizing online sports betting.
So, in late 2017 when rumors started circulating that the Carney Administration was looking to revive the 2009 law if New Jersey wins their case against PASPA at the Supreme Court, Delaware’s hopes were renewed.
It would, therefore, appear that the three land-based casinos running sports betting and gambling activities got to accept single-game wagers from June 5th, and not just the parlay-style sports wagers for at least 3 NFL games. Governor John Carney placed his first sports bet that day.
The Delaware Park Casino has the FanDuel Group as its sports betting service provider while Scientific Games is the sports betting service provider for both Dover Downs Hotel and Casino and Harrington Raceway and Casino.
The biggest player in the sports betting scene, however, is Scientific Games, an iGaming company which supplies sports gaming facilities to at least 150 lotteries from around the world. Besides sports betting, Scientific Games is also responsible for the running and development of the instant games video lottery gambling, as well as the more complex gaming systems.
Regulation of sports betting
As mentioned above, sports betting is regulated by the Delaware Lotteries Licensing Commission.
The three casinos legalized to run as land-based sportsbooks are required to pay 50 percent tax on their gross sports betting revenue, 10 percent to the Delaware horsemen for purposes related to the track, and 0.25 percent in federal excise taxes.
Online Betting Landscape
Even little progress is being made on the online sports betting Delaware landscape, the online poker industry in the state got a huge break in 2014 when an interstate sharing agreement was signed off on by Nevada and Delaware governors. With this agreement, the licensed poker sites within Delaware got to share their players with the licensed sites in the state of Nevada resulting in a larger pool of online poker players from both states.
The player sharing agreement was strengthened in 2017 when an agreement was made to allow player sharing with New Jersey too.
Daily Fantasy Sports Betting Online
Though you cannot bet on the NFL online in Delaware, your love for daily fantasy sports gets rewarded by the fact that you can bet on DFS online.
This resulted from the July 2017 Act, the Delaware Interactive Fantasy Contest Act which was signed into law by Governor Carney. The signed act permits the placement of online wagers on interactive daily fantasy sporting contests by Delaware participants.
In case you are wondering why DFS betting online was legalized fast but not online betting on the NFL, you’ll be relieved to know that the two sports differ significantly.
Interactive DFS contests refer to the games of skill. In these games, a contestant (s) get to compete against one another by only using their understanding and their knowledge of an athletic event or athletic events. The participants get to select and manage a roster of players. The performance of the players will correspond directly with the actual performance of the competitors in sporting contests and sports teams.
The Delaware Division of Gaming Enforcement regulates these activities, and the participants should be at least 18 years.
Two online sportsbooks are licensed to accept online DFS wagers: FanDuel and DraftKings.
To be a DFS sportsbook in Delaware, you are required to pay a licensing fee of $50,000 and at least 15.5 percent in the DFS taxes.
Even though some factions were threatened by the legalization of online DFS betting, the director of the DFS was not rattled noting that DFS is different from online casino gambling.
Online Horse Racing Betting
As one of the many states that’s legalized betting real money on horseracing, it comes as a relief to know that you can place your bets online or in-person at the horse tracks, or even through the off-track betting facilities (OTB).
The state-run Thoroughbred Racing Commission regulates all horse racing activities. The commission’s primary role is to ensure that fair percentages are given to wagers.
To bet on the races, you must be at least 18 years, living in Delaware. You can bet on the sport online through sites likes TwinSpires, TWG, and BetAmerica.
Regarding the legality of betting on horse racing in Delaware, it should be noted that the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) doesn’t have a caveat for the legality and the manner of horseracing. Therefore, it is up to individual states to decide whether they wish to legalize horseracing online, or not.
Other Online Gambling Activities in Delaware
The gambling legislation for Delaware that was legalized in 2012 allowed the three major betting sites in the state of offer gambling activities. The number of sites offering legal online gambling is expected to rise in future years. But, until then, the three sites rule the market.
To ensure that players are within the state line when betting, the online casinos are not only located in Delaware, but they employ robust technologies which will first verify a player’s IP address and then triangulate the location of the cellphone used. While the details of the technologies used are sparse, they effectively block persons outside Delaware from accessing the sites.
Unlike other states, it should be noted that in Delaware, the regulatory commission overseeing all online gambling activities in the state is the Delaware state lottery commission.
The three casinos all represent a huge joint venture between 888 Holdings and Scientific Gaming. So, despite the casinos running individual websites, they are one large entity.
As mentioned above, the state of Delaware has entered into agreements with New Jersey to allow players from any of these three states to visit the online poker sites from any of the states, without restrictions.
Top Three Online Casinos in Delaware
- Dover Downs
Also called the Casino Delaware Park, the Dover Downs Casino is bursting with gambling activities both online and offline. The top table games available on the site, besides slots (the casino has at least 2,300 slot machines) include baccarat, three-card poker, roulette, blackjack, and craps among others.
- Delaware Park Racetrack
This casino is home to online table games, video poker, slots, and video keno. The site also offers live keno but only in limited hours. If keno is not your thing, then you might want to try live poker, also offered on the site.
The top table games on the site include blackjack, three-card poker, craps, and roulette, among others.
What stands out the most, however, is the fact that the site boasts over 2000 slot machines making it one of the biggest casinos in Delaware.
- Harrington Racing & Casino
Though smaller of the three casinos, the Harrington Racing & Casino offers a good gambling experience. Slots are the main thing, but you also get to play table games like Blackjack, 4-card poker, craps, and Big Six, among other varieties of table games.
Types of Sports Bets You Can Place in Delaware
Before you place your bets, you should be aware of the options available. The Delaware sports betting operators offers several options for participants to place wagers. The available options include Parlays (the oldest legal sports betting wager accepted). The other options include overs/ under, props, money line, teasers, straight wagers, and futures.
Revenue from Sports Betting in Delaware
In December 2018, the state of Delaware recorded a whopping $1.1 million in November 2018 alone, becoming the second highest source of monthly revenue for the state. What this means is that the state could record even higher revenues if they legalized online sports betting.
While the future of online sports betting remains uncertain, it is expected that the state of Delaware will, in the near future, legalize online sports betting while setting in motion regulations to control online betting on sports in the state. This move would improve the state’s revenue while being at a competitive position. New Jersey currently 6 very active sports betting sites and apps, West Virginia one online site and app, and Pennsylvania expected to follow suit in 2019. Only time will tell whether or not Delaware in next in line.