Delaware Racetracks First to Offer Single-Game Sports Bets
While many expected that New Jersey would be the first new US state to legalize single-game sports betting, it is Delaware which will launch full sportsbook service to bettors after the Supreme Court’s decision against the Professional Amateur Sports Protection Act. Next Tuesday, Delaware’s three racetrack-casinos will roll out the first day of single-game sports wagers.
Dover Downs, Harrington Raceway, and Delaware Park each will offer a full slate of sports bets at their respective sportsbooks on Tuesday, June 5. For the past 25 years, Delaware sports betting operations could offer “sports lotteries”, which required gamblers to wager on 3 or more game results at the same time. Parlay betting does not draw as much interest from gamblers, because such wagers are harder to win.
Delaware’s legislature quickly approved sportsbook regulations, one the Supreme Court decision was announced. Delaware is known to have the most advanced civil court system in the world, which draws nearly 50% of all US corporations to incorporate in the small eastern seaboard state.
It appears that Delaware also has some of the fastest lawmakers in the world.
Delaware: 1st Post-PASPA Sportsbook Regulator
Last week the Supreme Court ruled that the Professional Amateur Sports Protection (PASPA) was unconstitutional. Where before, only Nevada had full sportsbooks and only 3 other states had sports lotteries, now all 50 states are able to offer legalized sports betting on a case-by-case basis.
As many as 20 US states are considering the legalization of sports betting, but Morgan Stanley believes it might take as long as 5 years for 20 states to pass sportsbook laws.
Rick Geisenberger, Delaware’s Finance Secretary, said his state was confident in its new laws: “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. Our hope is to get that complete next week and then it’s a question of testing software. But this will be a conversation with the casinos and we’ll start when we’re ready and they’re ready.”
New Jersey Sports Betting Laws
Meanwhile, New Jersey has also announced their expectations of having full-scale sports betting operations up and running the first week of June.
Former New Jersey state Sen. Raymond Lesniak said that the state is not happy about Delaware heading up the new betting law. New Jersey fronted the case that lead to the Supreme Court’s decision. They fought a six-year, $9 million battle to get it to the result it is today, so NJ lawmakers believe they should have been the first to kick it off.
Ray Lesniak said, “It’s somewhat annoying they could beat us to be the first when we deserve it. We’re missing a big opportunity to have 30,000 people at Monmouth Park (on Memorial Day), with national media attention for the first bet.”
Former Sen. Lesniak said New Jersey offered Delaware an opportunity to join its attempts to overturn the federal ban, but the state declined saying they “wanted to keep exclusivity.” Now, Lesniak says it is “disheartening” that they will end up kicking off the single-game sports betting.
Monmouth Park Sportsbook
Monmouth Park racetrack in Oceanport originally planned to begin taking bets on May 28, Memorial Day. However, New Jersey state Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, decided to delay the tracks opening as lawmakers continue to prepare legislation on how the state will regulate and tax sports betting at its casinos and racetracks. Sweeney was not wanting to rush the process.
Sweeney sounded defensive when asked about delays, though he insisted New Jersey was approaching the sports betting laws the right way. He said, “Our goal is to get this done. I see what Delaware’s doing. But they’re not going Memorial Day weekend either. I really do believe we have to have some rules.”
Of course, Delaware had advantage of already offering limited sports betting. For that reason, NJ Senate President Stephen Sweeney said he is not worried about not being first and is not going to dwell on it. Sweeney said, “They’ve already got legalized gambling. I’m not concerned about it. I want to make sure we get the rules in place and we do it right.”
Delaware Sports Lotteries
Though Delaware had the right to offer sports lotteries since the PASPA went into effect in 1993, the state got into the sportsbook game relatively late. Since 2009, Delaware has offered bets limited to select pro football games. The state got a taste of how lucrative sports betting could be, so it now is ready to offer full-scale betting.
Delaware’s NFL parlay betting produced around $46 million wagered in 2017. With full-scale betting revenue is expected to be greatly more than that of the limited betting, Delaware believes the results will be at least 3 to 5 times greater from single-game sports betting.