Delaware Now In Pole Position In The Race To Offer Sports Betting

Written By Jessica Welman on May 18, 2018
horse race photo finish

Move over, New Jersey. Even though the Garden State was the one who pressed the sports betting issue all the way to the Supreme Court, it may not be the first new state to start taking bets. With SCOTUS striking down the Profesional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), they are plenty of states clamoring to take bets ASAP.

Instead of New Jersey, it looks like Delaware will be the second state behind Nevada to start accepting single-game wagers. The state announced Thursday that it inspected the laws on the books, determined it was legally allowed to start taking wagers and will launch single-game wagering in a matter of weeks.

Meanwhile, New Jersey still needs to create regulations for its sports betting industry. Some venues, like Monmouth Park, would like to launch wagering by the end of the month. However, New Jersey lawmakers are playing it safe. Meanwhile, Delaware is moving forward at full speed.

Delaware Lottery developed sports betting plan months ago

There are three racetracks/casinos in the state of Delaware. They are:

    < li>Delaware Park Racetrack & Slots
  • Dover Downs Hotel & Casino
  • Harrington Raceway & Casino

Thanks to a carveout in PASPA, Delaware has actually offered parlay wagering on and off for years. These properties accept three-team parlays, which has turned into a nice cottage industry for the state.

With that framework in place already, Delaware simply has an easier path to launch than New Jersey, where no one has taken wagers before.

State lawmakers met this week and looked through the laws to determine sports betting’s standing in Delaware. You see, while New Jersey was the state that successfully challenged PASPA, Delaware was actually the first to try it.

The state passed the regulatory framework for single-game wagering in 2009. They challenged PASPA in court, but lost.

Now though, those regulations being in place already is paying dividends. The state deemed themselves good to start taking single-game wagers. In fact, the state could start taking wagers as soon as the first week of June.

State Finance Secretary Rick Geisenberger issued a statement regarding the news:

“Following Monday’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court and consultation with the Delaware Attorney General’s Office, we are confident that Delaware has the legal and regulatory authority to authorize sports gaming in Delaware. The Delaware Lottery has had plans in place for months, and we will begin training lottery and casino staff early next week. We will continue to provide public updates as we prepare to launch full-scale sports gaming in Delaware next month.”

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What to expect from Delaware sports betting

Now, there is obviously an advantage to being first to market. Keep in mind though that Delaware is simply not a very big state. There are less than a million people who live there. Online poker is a great example of how Delaware can be first to market, but still not really be a major player.

Given how quickly everyone is moving, there is not much at stake for Delaware beyond the pride of being first. Though, given how eager everyone is to launch sports betting in states where it is now technically legal, there is still no guarantee Delaware will even manage to accomplish that.

Photo by Cheryl Ann Quigley /

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Jessica Welman

Jessica Welman has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the managing editor for A graduate of Indiana University and USC, Welman is not only a writer but also a producer. She can be found on Twitter @jesswelman.

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