When the Governor of Delaware plunked down $10 on June 5 to back his beloved Philadelphia Phillies within the Chicago Cubs, the wager indicated the start of a new age in American sports betting.
Governor John Carney’s flier about the Phillies even managed to produce a $20 profit too, following the (+200) underdogs were able to upset that the Cubbies.
That ceremonial bet placed at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino was followed by many bigger tickets bought by more severe bettors, such as a series of $500 baseball bets placed by local pro Stu Feiner.
Overall, across the state’s three racetrack / casino venues – Delaware Park, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, and Harrington Raceway & Casino – accumulated $322,135 in wagers on the first day of business. That amount comes directly from Delaware Lottery manager Vernon Kirk, who heads the regulatory group helping to get Delaware’s sports betting industry ready to go.
Residents of and visitors to Delaware have been able to partly bet on sports for many decades, but only on“parlay cards“ based on National Football League (NFL) games. Those parlay cards required several winners to be linked together, and also the only tickets which cashed were those that revealed all winners.
Traditional single-game or fixed-odds sports betting, a la what you find in a Las Vegas sportsbook, wasn’t available in Delaware – or some other American state aside from Nevada for that issue. Under a federal law known as the skilled and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, single-game sports gambling was prohibited anywhere but the Silver State.
That all changed on May 14, but when the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark 6-3 ruling in a case known as Murphy v. NCAA. That case originated in New Jersey, after the Garden State made continued efforts to pass its own sports gambling laws and regulations. After being sued by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Together with the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL, New Jersey’s ultimate appeal to the Supreme Court wound up at the winning column.
Whenever the Court ruled that PASPA violated the 10th amendment to the U.S. Constitution – that grants states the right to pass their own legislation absent Congressional action – PASPA was officially struck down once and for all.
What followed that decision three weeks ago was a veritable gold rush, with New Jersey racing to put the final touches on its statewide regulations.
However, while lawmakers in New Jersey took their time, their counterparts from Delaware already had legal frameworks in place thanks to their parlay card operation. Called the First State for a reason, Delaware went fast to become the first state out Nevada to take lawful sports wagers.
Here is how Governor Carney described the sports betting launch in an interview with ESPN Chalk:
„For us, it is really an improvement of our tourism market.
It will attract a lot of visitors to our state, particularly at this time of year, throughout the summer, coming to our beautiful beaches south of here.
They are here and stop in the casinos and do slot machines and table gaming. This will be an additional chance for them.“
Carney also took a moment to hype Delaware since the Northeast’s latest sports gambling destination when talking to USA Today:
„Gloating in this industry doesn’t last quite long.
We are happy to be first now.
I don’t expect we’ll be the only one quite long, but today it feels really good to be original.“
Carney’s historical first wager was set at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, however, the state is home to 2 racetrack / casinos using in-house sportsbooks: Delaware Park Racetrack and Harrington Raceway and Casino.
Until the sportsbooks in Atlantic City go live – which should be any moment now – Delaware stands out as the only place for residents of the East Coast to place wagers. Bearing that in mind, bettors will be flocking to those casinos from all corners of the Northeast.
To help get you started in your sports gambling journey, I have gone ahead and seen all the 3 sportsbooks in Delaware. Below you’ll discover objective and honest reviews of each centre, along with have to know information such as the address, contact number, site, and distances from regional population centers.
Check out my reviews of the 3 sportsbook venues now working in Delaware to make a more informed decision with your betting buck:
Delaware Park Racetrack
Address: 777 Delaware Park Blvd, Wilmington, DE 19804
Distance from Philadelphia:41 miles
Distance from Baltimore:69 miles
Distance from New York: 122 miles
Distance from Boston:355 miles
Located in the very northernmost point of the state, in town of Wilmington, Delaware Park Racetrack is your very conveniently available venue for folks in New York and New England.
It is also the most appealing of the trio, the casino facility nestled near the banks of the Delaware River and also a grassy green hill. In the outside, Delaware Park seems to be just another stately three-story property, but as soon as you step foot in you’ll feel like you’ve walked onto the casino floor in Las Vegas.
Between the slot machines, bright lights, and gold trim, this place is much similar to the Golden Nugget than your average rural racetrack.
Once you find the sportsbook areas – that are situated in the clubhouses around the 1st and 3rd floors – you’ll be greeted by an array of brightly colored tiny lightbulbs exhibiting the day’s lines and odds. These gambling boards was cutting edge in Las Vegas about 10 years ago, however Sin City has phased them out in favor of high-definition television screens instead.
But you know what they say about a man’s trash being another’s treasure, therefore Delaware Park is pleased to have the betting boards on site.
Just ask William Fasy, who serves as president of Delaware Park. During a meeting with Deadspin to celebrate his sportsbook opening for company, Fasy touted his place’s most prominent technological flourish:
„These boards were bought eight years back, and they are no more employed in Vegas.
But they are the top boards in Delaware!“
If you’re unfamiliar with a sportsbook betting board that the image below will show you what I am discussing.
Sports Book Beting Board
As you can see, every game or wager is coded using a base number (401, 402, etc. in the example picture above). When gambling on 401 from the picture above, you would be backing the Minnesota Vikings (-10) over the Los Angeles Rams. That (-10) figure refers to the point spread, therefore in this scenario, the Vikings will be putting 10 points to the Rams.
If you wished to take Minnesota without the spread, just search for the negative or positive numbers to the right of the point spread. These figures are called the“moneyline,“ plus they represent true chances on your bet. For the Vikings instance, you’d be financing a big (-600) preferred, while a wager on the underdog Rams would offer (+400) on your money.
Each team or participant will get their own number, so you would just tell the clerk“$100 on 401moneyline please“ to put a c-note back on the Vikes.
In addition to the fancy gaming planks, Delaware Park has also set up a bank of self-service wagering kiosks. These weren’t up and running just yet when I visited the centre, but they looked like ATM machines from the early 1990s. Think a boxy framework, small screen, and no-nonsense interface and you’ll find the idea.
It is possible to bet for your heart’s content in Delaware Park, which provides daily actions on Major League Baseball (MLB), plus the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals, along with a slew of daily golf and tennis tournaments.
If you are considering futures betting, have a shot in the upcoming 2018 World Cup soccer championship, or attempt to predict which NFL team will take the Super Bowl title this season.
Fasymade it clear in a round of meet and greets with the local press that Delaware Park would be going“all in“ on its sportsbook. According to him, each Kind of gambling will be on the desk, save you:
„I feel the only thing we’re not likely to offer is’in sport’ wagering.
You’re likely to have prop bets. You’re just not going to have in sport prop bets going on.
And you’re going to have a truly mobile device“
The concept of in-game betting was popularized by online sportsbooks, with gamers able to put additional wagers even as the game is continuing. Say your group drops right into an early hole, and you’re keen on balancing the ledger. Placing an in-game wager on the other side offers valuable protection against upsets and unforeseen conditions.
While the in-game gambling fad will not be coming to Delaware Park just yet, Fasy did allude to the development of mobile and internet wagering down the road.
Do not overlook, Delaware is one of just three countries – along with Nevada and New Jersey – in which a regulated and legal online gaming industry has already gone live. With online casinos and poker rooms already hosted by the state’s three casino racetracks, it won’t be long until it’s possible to download the Delaware Park sportsbook app straight for your smartphone or cellular device.
When it comes to customer support, Delaware Park really hit the ball out of the park. Under advice from Fasy – who is clearly enthusiastic about turning the place into a sports bettor’s harbor – the staff here are educated and considerate. Sure, a few hiccups could be observed concerning erroneous tickets and so on, such as my futures bet on the Miami Dolphins season win total being entered as a Miami Marlins moneyline by mistake.
However, those growing pains are to be expected for any new sportsbook. Thanks to this helpful attendants, I managed to cancel the Marlins ticket and exchange it to the Dolphins in a couple of minutes.
Overall, I can not suggest Delaware Park enough, based equally on the place’s contemporary feel and Fasy’s clear commitment to producing the nation’s best sportsbook.
Dover Downs Hotel and Casino
Address: 1131 North DuPont Highway; Dover, Delaware
Distance from Philadelphia: 78 miles
Distance from Baltimore:106 miles
Distance from New York: 165 miles
Distance from Boston: 388 miles
When I first laid eyes on Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, my first thought was of those glittering Off-Strip casinos scattered throughout the Las Vegas desert.
Places like the South Point and Red Rock Resort, which combine sprawling hotel towers spanning several stories with classical design – that’s what Dover Downs is about for.
And the illusion isn’t broken one piece when you walk through the doors. Vaulted ceilings, fancy artwork, and marble flooring all combine to turn the area into a casino connoisseur’s dream come true. This place has convention halls, shopping outlets, and naturally, a racetrack where NASCAR events are hosted each year.
Head through the main entry and find the closest bar off to the side, and you will be smack dab at the sportsbook. Just search for the big comfy chairs and massive projector screens overhead, and you are there.
At first glance, the sportsbook centre at Dover Downs seems to indicate a thriving enterprise place to capitalize on the demise of PASPA. And to be sure, the centre has expanded its offerings to include the full complement of single-game wagers, props, and futures.
But during my time there, the attention from staff and customers alike stayed on horse racing. This makes sense I suppose, what with the place’s longstanding affiliation with the“Sport of Kings.“
I had been curious, however, about the apparent lack of buzz regarding ordinary sports gambling, particularly with the NBA and NHL Finals going on at the time.
A little digging around advised the tale, as I discovered the following quote from Dover Downs president Ed Sutor within an article printed by theDelaware Public:
„It’s nice to have. [However ] in Nevada, in which they have had it for 50 decades, it merely represents about two percent of the revenues.
A lot of people are mistaking the amounts bet as the earnings.
It is not a massive take for the business.“
Sutor was not the sole Dover Downs executive who appeared to be lukewarm at best when it came to expanded sportsbooks in the state:
Dover Downs Gamingchief executive officer Denis McGlynn threw cold water on the idea that sports gambling are an economic boon for the nation when speaking to Delaware Online:
„There’s a lot of rhetoric that gets thrown around down there that doesn’t have any basis in fact.People have to control their expectations on this.
The dollars that are left over after you pay back the winners are extremely little and you divide it among many different people within this nation.
When (surrounding countries ) wake up and running, we’re just going to observe a draining of individuals who are coming , just as we have observed in the regular casino business and before this at the horse racing business.“
Even though a pragmatic company outlook certainly is reasonable, particularly from an operator’s perspective, I am not sure I understand Dover Downs’ angle on this.
By neglecting to adopt the entire spectrum of sports betting options now open to Delaware, the place risks being abandoned in Delaware Park’s dust. And maybe that’s already the case.
This past year the state of Delaware accumulated $1.9 million in earnings on its parlay card games. From this figure, Delaware Park dominated the marketplace with $1.2 million, almost three times that obtained in by Dover Downs ($422,000).
The absence of faith expressed from the higher-ups in Dover Downs seems to have trickled down to the staff level. Clerks didn’t seem very educated when I inquired about futures betting, and unless you’re wagering on the ponies, nobody expressed the type excitement I felt back at Delaware Park.
And that is a pity too, because from the outside in, this site boasts the kind of conveniences every gambler appreciates.
Harrington Raceway and Casino
Address: 18500 S Dupont Hwy, Harrington, DE 19952
Distance from Philadelphia:99 miles
Distance from Baltimore:87 miles
Distance from New York: 186 miles
Distance from Boston:409 miles
Harrington Raceway is located incentral Delaware, only one hour and a half from Baltimore and Philadelphia.
But you’re going to be forgiven for driving by the location without ever even noticing.
This casino is affixed to a small harness racing course, and the whole grounds was built out in the middle of nowhere.
The casino building’s exterior resembles that of non-denominational church, and not much adorns it to suggest gambling and amusement is afoot. It’s an interesting design choice to say the very least, and things don’t exactly enhance when you head inside.
If you’ve ever been to the older Downtown district in Las Vegas – home of“fabulous“ Fremont Street – you then know what to anticipate at Harrington Raceway. Rundown slot machines, aging d??cor, along with a generally sullen scene are the defining features of the casino floor.
Fortunately for bettors, the sportsbook area does offer a little bit of improvement – but just barely. Things fell more straightforward in there, however, the set up of personal cubicles with attached TV monitors – typical for racebooks – is not exactly inviting. The projector screens overhead are big and bright however, so I will give them that far.
Interestingly enough, Harrington Raceway’s chief executive officer Patti Key has yet to comment publicly about the legalization of sports betting. Whether this speaks to a companywide philosophy emphasizing horse racing across the sportsbook isn’t for me to say but Key staying tight-lipped is pretty interesting.
Due to the track’s standing as a severe harness racing centre, the sportsbook is usually crowded before scheduled start times. If you are there for sports just, make sure you catch a copy of the daily racing form to see when the lines will probably start piling up.
A wonderful byproduct of this venue’s serious approach to horse racing is the employees are ready and ready to roll. I needed to fix a couple of ticket authors from time to time at the other two sportsbooks, but the folks at Harrington batted 1.000 in terms of precision.
Overall, the experience surpassed what I would have expected when I saw the construction, which is likely the reason why they say never to judge a book by it’s cover.
Based on the place you call home, among the three places listed above are the most convenient based solely on proximity. That’s probably reason enough to choose a favorite, but since Delaware is a small country, it is possible to hit all three within a weekend to view them up close and personal.
In terms of my own tour of the state’s sportsbooks, I favored Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway, and Dover Downs in this order.
Delaware Park benefits from the excitement of its direction, as Fasy attracts a real interest in the sports betting business to the table. His staff are genuinely eager to help new bettors learn the ropes, and that goes a long way in my own book. When the very first online sportsbooks go live in the very first State, I will bet my bottom Delaware Park is running the show.
Harrington Raceway might not be much to look at, but the venue knows how to run a racebook. The staff can answer questions and guide you through the process with ease. Whether that victory goes to sports gambling remains to be seen, however I have a feeling serious bettors can call this place home.
As for Dover Downs, my feelings on the problem are simple – if the people in charge do not appreciate sports betting, they wont enjoy sports bettors either. Until I hear word about a change in tone coming down the chain of control, I just wouldn’t expect the mistakes and malaise here to be solved anytime soon.