Sports Betting in Delaware
Sports betting has become one of the most popular pastimes in the United States. Millions of dollars in revenue are made in many states every year from sports betting, especially after the PASPA repeal in 2018. Delaware, also known as the ‘First State,’ has already made plenty of progressive moves to accommodate sports gambling. From the look of things, the future seems even brighter for locals who enjoy betting on their favorite sports.
It’s not such a surprise that Delaware is making moves towards a more conducive iGaming industry. The state got its pet name the ‘First State’ by being the first state to ratify the constitution of the United States. As such, it has always been at the forefront of passing progressive laws that bring in a new era of change. However, the road to a gambling-legal environment, especially for sports enthusiasts, wasn’t smooth. Here’s a highlight of how things came to be.
History of Sports Betting in Delaware
In Delaware, the journey to the legalization of sports betting begins in the early 1930s. Not that it had not been happening in an unofficial capacity beforehand, but pari-mutuel wagering was now becoming more and more popular. The laws regulating this new form of betting were instituted, and the first recorded licenses were issued around 1935. It is at this time that the well-known Delaware Park was opened (around 1937), and interestingly, this is when race tracks came to be known as racinos.
Fastrack things March of 1975, the very first Delaware Lottery was established by legislation. It was a weekly game that was based on live horse races held at racetracks that were owned by the State. Another milestone was in 1976 when the Delaware Lottery ran its first State approved sports betting event; it was a football parlay game. This would later come into play in the process of getting sports betting approved in Delaware.
The progressive State continued to move forward with amending gambling laws that regulate sports betting, and in 1986 a board that would oversee all forms of gambling in the state of Delaware was formed. The Delaware Gaming Control Board was established in 1986 and was later renamed the Division of Business and Professional Regulation in 1991.
Early in 1992, the Professional and Amateur Sports Provision Act (PASPA) was enforced. In a nutshell, the Act deemed it illegal for any State that had not already been regulating sports betting (by the time of the enactment of the Act) to license and regulate any form of wagering on sports activities.
Since then, several attempts to have PASPA repealed have been made by many states in the USA with little to no effect. In fact, because of the parlay football sports betting that was already allowed in Delaware, the State had been one of only four states to be exempt from PASPA in any way.
By 2003, lawmakers in the first state passed a law that allowed the expansion of racino operations. Since then, it was until 2012 again when legislators made an effort to further boost state revenue through sports betting.
The HB333 bill was introduced, and the House Gaming and Pari-mutuels Committer approved it. It was meant to expand the sports betting retail estate, among other forms of gambling. After the HB333 was passed via the Senate and the House of Representatives, on June 29th, in the same year (2012), Governor Markell signed the bill into law.
While the progress to a more liberal sports betting environment seemed slow, the strides that were being made in Delaware were much more significant than in most states across the nation. In 2016, SB183 was introduced by Senator Bushweller. Apart from table games tax and license budget cuts for operators, this bill was also meant to expand the sports betting services of the State Lottery and take them online.
The casino industry was struggling at that time, and something had to be done about it to boost the state revenue. However, as beneficial as it would have been, the SB183 bill still sits in the Senate Finance Committee to date, in anticipation of further discussion.
2018 to Date
It was an exciting day for bettors all over the nation as PASPA was finally repealed by the Supreme Court of the United States on May 14, 2018. It was a victory for the sports betting industry and interactive game operators everywhere, as the U.S is a largely unexplored market. The Governor of Delaware made the first-ever, legal, single-game sports bet in the United States from Delaware.
Right after the SCOTUS ruling, parlay football betting was finally allowed in Delaware. The office of Governor John Carney also announced the plan to allow betting on both professional and collegiate sports, except for games that involved state-based teams. The Governor also confirmed that on June 5th, sports betting on professional car racing, basketball, soccer, football, hockey, and baseball would officially launch in the state at 1330hrs.
Where can I Bet on Sports in Delaware?
As though the state was waiting at the door, only two weeks after the repeal of PASPA, the first sportsbook was launched in Delaware. The governor himself even placed a bet of $10, to celebrate the new gambling era, on the Phillies. There three main online casinos that offer sports betting, and their parent companies have been operational for decades.
- Dover Downs Online Gaming
- Harrington Online
- Delaware Park Online
However, the gambling regulations in the state do not allow sports betting if it is not through the three authorized casinos. You have to be physically present on these gambling facilities to bet on sports, and you must be at least 21 years old. But then, unlike most of the other gambling legal states, the law doesn’t officially allow online sports betting yet.
Mobile Sports Betting
The repeal of PASPA also gave rise to mobile sports betting in the United States. Nevertheless, while mobile betting is deemed legal in the state, operators are yet to step forward and unveil mobile betting apps for sports as it is for casino games. That’s because online sports betting is not legal yet.
As we speak, mobile sports betting sites are becoming increasingly popular across other gambling legal states. There are both download and no-download options for mobile sports betting sites. We hope that is an opportunity that Delaware operators are looking to seize, especially since there Delaware State Lottery has already gone mobile!
Daily Fantasy Sports Contests in Delaware
The Delaware Interactive Fantasy Contests Act (HB249) was approved in 2017 when John Carney, signed it into law. The bill was set to be enforced starting in August of 2017. This bill also stipulates a 15% gross tax and $50k fee for an annual license for any operators within the state.
Daily fantasy sports were legalized on the premise that they are not games of chance but are games of skill. This allowed the state to approve the new bill, and daily fantasy sports contests remain one of the only forms of online sports betting that is legal in Delaware. Players from Delaware are allowed to play fantasy sports from the dozens of online operators provided they are licensed by the appropriate authorities. Bettors can place wagers on some of the biggest leagues like the NFL, NBA, MLB, and the NHL.
|Sports Betting Highlights in Delaware|
|Age Requirements||Sports Betting, Casinos 21+|
|Lottery, Pari-mutuel, Charity Games: 18 +|
|Regulatory Body||Delaware Gaming and Control Board|
|Key Legislation||Delaware Gaming Statute|
|Taxation||Varies according to category|
|State Lottery||Delaware State Lottery|
|Casino Games Betting||Allowed|
|Online Sports Betting||No|
|Online Mobile Sports Betting||No|
|Online Fantasy Sports Betting||Yes|
What Does the Future Hold for Sports Betting Delaware?
Delaware has been amending its gambling laws to accommodate online gambling for years. While a lot of progress has been made, there’s still a lot of work to do, especially when it comes to sports betting. Currently, gambling on sports is only legal in the state at the land-based casinos that are authorized by the Delaware Gaming and Control Board.
Even though most forms of online gambling have been legalized, Delaware gaming regulations do not allow online sports betting. However, because online casino gambling has been legalized within state boundaries, there might still be hope for interactive sports betting.
Considering the drastic increase in bettors in the state, the possibility of high revenues gained from the online sports betting industry might also sway online gambling regulations to allow online sports betting. As of now, daily fantasy sports contests are the only form of online sports betting allowed in the First State. Till further notice, we’ll all have to sit tight wait until the state law deems it legal to place online sports bets in the First State.