Delaware is probably not the first state that comes to mind when you think of sports or sports betting. There are no professional sports teams located in the state, and Delaware does not have a strong collegiate sports program either.
All of this might be true, but Delaware was actually the first state to accept a wager after the lifting of PASPA. The state has seen minimal growth since that time, but residents can still legally bet on sports.
At this time, all betting is limited to retail options at the three casinos in the state, and mobile or online betting is not legal.
The History behind Legal Sports Betting in Delaware
Sports betting in the state of Delaware can be traced back to before the Revolutionary War, but at that time, horse racing was the only sport available to bet on. Delaware does not have the biggest sports betting market in the United States, but it does have one of the oldest.
The Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission was formed in 1933 to clean up the horse racing industry and the bettors associated with the races. In 1937, Delaware Park was opened, and it became the first location to offer legal sports betting in the state.
Harrington Raceway opened in 1946, and Dover Downs officially opened in 1969, giving the state three retail sports betting locations. At this time, betting on horse racing remained the only option for sports bettors.
The state made many attempts to expand on sports betting, but nothing was made official until 2009. Lawmakers were able to pass a bill that allowed retail locations to offer parlay betting options on NFL games.
In 2012, Delaware took the next step by legalizing online casino gaming and online poker. Delaware was one of the first states in the country to take this next step, and it provided a huge revenue boost to the state.
When the United States Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on sports betting in 2018, Delaware made the move to legalize single-game sports betting. Delaware was the first state to offer sports betting after the PASPA was overturned.
Governor John Carney made the first official single-game sports bet on June 5, 2018, at Delaware Park. To this day, all three of the racinos in the state remain the only retail locations that offer single-game sports betting.
There has been some minimal attempt from lawmakers to expand sports betting to include mobile or online wagering, but a law has yet to be passed.
Financial History behind Legal Sports Betting in Delaware
Delaware’s sports betting industry has yet to develop a real trend when looking at the numbers, as the figures continue to jump up and down. The industry got off to a solid start in 2018, and it does appear that things are starting to head in the right direction again in 2020.
September 2018 marked the biggest month for the state in terms of sports betting revenue, as the Delaware Lottery brought in more than $3.1 million in winnings. December 2018 brought in $2.2 million in revenue from the industry, which was the second-biggest month.
Along with revenue, the total sports betting handle has bounced around quite a bit as well. The months where football is being played has provided a boom to the industry, but there have been some slow months without football.
Sports betting handle and sports betting revenue in September 2020 were both up from the totals reported in August 2020. The sports betting handle was $7.27 million in September, and sports betting revenue was just under $2 million.
The September 2020 numbers were actually down from the September 2019 numbers, and the lack of college football games played a role in those numbers. The entire sports betting industry in Delaware was shut down from April-June 2020 as the casinos were closed due to the pandemic.
Sportsbook Apps in Delaware
Delaware might have been one of the first states to launch sports betting following the repeal of PASPA, but the state has yet to legalize mobile or online sports betting. There hasn’t been an attempt by state lawmakers to launch mobile sports betting, but that could always come at some point in the near future.
Other states have shown that mobile sports betting is the best way to bring in money, and it’s likely that Delaware will realize the same thing at some point. Even though sports betting is somewhat limited in the state, don’t be surprised if Delaware legalizes mobile sportsbook apps at some point soon.
It’s hard to predict exactly how many licenses will be available to online sports betting operators, but there will likely be a handful. Here are some of the biggest names in the sports betting industry that will likely attempt to launch in Delaware if that becomes an option:
- William Hill
Landlocked Locations to Bet on Sports in Delaware
When lawmakers in Delaware were looking to launch sports betting, it was decided that the three commercial casinos would be the only properties available to apply for a sports betting license. This was one way to boost traffic and revenue for each of the three properties in the state.
Typically, retail casinos would be required to partner with a sports betting operator to offer sports betting at that site. That is not the case in Delaware as the Delaware Lottery made that decision for them.
William Hill was selected as the sports betting operator that would provide each of the three commercial casinos with sports betting services. Sportsbooks have been built at each property, and there are also kiosks available.
Here are the three locations that currently offer sports betting in Delaware:
Delaware Park Casino is located in Wilmington, Delaware. Sports betting is available from 11 am-11 pm Monday through Saturday, and from 10 am-11 pm on Sunday.
Dover Downs is a racetrack located in Dover, Delaware, and this location specializes in parlay cards. Sports betting is available from 12-8 pm Monday through Friday, and from 10 am-8 pm on the weekends.
The third and final location that offers sports betting in Delaware is the Harrington Raceway and Casino in Harrington. This sportsbook at Harrington Raceway has different hours throughout the week.
There are almost 100 other retail sports betting locations throughout Delaware, but these locations can only offer parlay cards for NFL and college football.
At this time, there are no plans to expand retail sports betting in the state of Delaware, and there are no other retail sports betting licenses available.
Sports Teams to Bet on in Delaware
Delaware is not known for its sports, and there are no professional sports teams located within the state. This would seem to create a problem for the sports betting industry, but Delaware is located near other states with a large number of professional teams.
The three major cities located near Delaware are Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. All three are major sports markets, and that is where most of the bets come from for sportsbooks in Delaware.
New Castle County is located in the northern part of Delaware, and that county has a large majority of the state’s population. Philadelphia is less than 50 miles away from New Castle County, and a majority of residents tend to follow the professional teams from that city.
The Philadelphia Eagles and the Philadelphia 76ers are two of the most popular teams to bet on in Delaware. The Philadelphia Phillies of MLB and the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League drive sports betting as well.
Other sports bettors in Delaware prefer to bet on other professional sports teams in Washington DC or Baltimore. Football is king in the sports betting industry, and betting on NFL teams always brings in the most bets.
The Washington Football Team (formerly Washington Redskins) is another popular team with residents of Delaware. The Washington Nationals (MLB) and the Washington Wizards (NBA) also bring in some bets.
In Baltimore, Maryland, the Ravens of the National Football League are extremely popular as well. The Ravens have been successful over the past decade, allowing the team to attract new fans from Delaware.
Betting on collegiate sporting events is also legal in Delaware, although the state doesn’t have any popular college teams. College football and college basketball are the two best options for Delaware residents looking to bet on NCAA activities.
FAQ for betting in Delaware
Where can I Bet on Sports in Delaware?
All sports betting in the state of Delaware must be done at the commercial casinos in the state. These locations are:
- Delaware Park Casino
- Dover Downs
- Harrington Raceway and Casino
How old do I have to be to place a bet?
The legal age to place a bet on sports in Delaware is 21 years of age. This is standard for most of the states that have legalized sports betting.
Can I make a bet online or with my phone?
As of October 2020, the answer is no. Delaware has not yet made online or mobile sports betting legal, and there are no online sports betting apps.
Is the DFS industry legal in Delaware?
No, Daily Fantasy Sports operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel are not able to offer DFS services in the state of Delaware. A large number of states have legalized and regulated this industry, but Delaware maintains that this is an illegal gambling activity.
Do I have to be a resident of the state to place a bet?
No. But you do have to be physically at one of the three casinos in the state to place a bet. Visitors of the state can stop by one of the three locations that offer sports betting to create an account and begin placing bets.
Can I bet on baseball in Delaware?
Yes. Baseball is one of the sports that can be offered by sportsbooks in the state. Sportsbooks have plenty of freedom when it comes to what sports or leagues they can offer bets on, with William Hill supplying the odds. Betting on collegiate teams that are located in the state of Delaware is not allowed.
Who regulates the sports betting industry in Delaware?
The Delaware Lottery regulates the sports betting industry in Delaware, but state lawmakers set the rules and regulations for the industry. The Delaware Lottery has reached an agreement with William Hill to supply sports betting services to the three casinos in the state.