Despite being a very small state, Delaware has had a major impact on the gambling world. With its proximity to other important locations like Washington, DC, New York and Philadelphia, this state of only one million residents has been able to play with the big boys on many fronts. As you will read on this page, the history of gambling laws in this state is far more impactful than its size and should be for many years to come.
Sports Betting in Delaware
Being a smaller state means there is far less in-fighting and debate when it comes to passing laws and resolutions. This can sometimes be a detriment, but in the case of sports betting, it put Delaware squarely on the map (and in the press).
When PASPA was repealed in May of 2018, it was a significant victory for states across the country, but primarily in New Jersey, who were the ones leading the charge to have the law overturned. As the announcement came from the Supreme Court, chatter turned from if sports betting would be legal to when players would be able to place bets in New Jersey.
While this was going on, however, Delaware had been quietly putting its own plans in place. Then, on June 5th, 2018, the unthinkable happened – Delaware became the first state outside Nevada to accept a legal sports bet (from the Governor, no less).
Even though Delaware stole the headlines for a short period, it has since retreated back into relative obscurity. That hasn’t stopped players from betting, however, and the state’s sportsbooks are only too happy to have the influx of revenues.
Online Sports Betting
Despite racing to launch legal sports betting in the state, the government in Delaware has yet to implement any online regulations. This means that the three license holders that operate sportsbooks locally are not able currently to offer the same bets to players over the internet. While this was designed to force more activity at the racetracks, it may, in fact, backfire a little.
This won’t last long and it is all but certain that the licensed gambling operators in Delaware will soon be able to offer sports betting online.
Horse Betting in Delaware
The three sports betting licenses in the state were awarded to the three racetracks, all of which offer a full slate of horse betting options. These tracks have been in business for ages, and while each has its own set of races for players to be upon, they all also offer a simulcast lounge where bettors can watch races from other parts of the country. This expands the number of races and the number of hours that a gambler can be active in the facility, which in turn helps the locations turn a profit. Despite the decline in horse racing handle over the years, these tracks find ways to stay in business.
Online Horse Betting
Where the laws in Delaware get a bit murky is when it comes to online horse betting. At present, there are no legal entities taking bets on horse racing on the internet in the state (the three tracks are not allowed to offer it). However, there is nothing stopping sites like XpressBet and Twinspires, both operating outside the state, from taking online pari-mutuel wagers from Delaware residents. This seems to be a giant loophole that the state could consider closing if it wants to further protect the racetracks.
Casino Gambling in Delaware
As many of you know, the horse racing business has seen better days. Revenues from horse racing betting have dropped for the better part of a decade, and this put the existence of the local tracks at risk. However, the state stepped in, and in 1994 they passed the Horse Racing Preservation Act. This gave the tracks the opportunity to add casino games to their properties. This would increase the foot traffic to the three racetracks, and would also provide a valuable shot in the arm by way of casino gambling revenues. To date, the three casinos all offer full table games and slots offerings and remain the only casino license holders.
Online Casinos in Delaware
We mentioned earlier that Delaware was one of the more aggressive states when it came to gambling laws and regulations, and this can be seen in the state’s stance on online casino gambling. The state legislature made online casino and poker legal in 2012, mainly as a response to the same move made in New Jersey. The state has entered into a compact with Nevada and New Jersey to pool poker liquidity, the first legal combination of its kind in the state.
Lottery in Delaware
The lottery is alive and well in Delaware. Players in the state can play many different draw games that run daily on the state level, and also have the chance to win a massive jackpot in either Powerball or Mega Millions, both of which pool jackpots from dozens of states. The last Powerball jackpot reached a BILLION dollars!
Is sports betting legal in Delaware?
Yes, sports betting is legal in Delaware. However, in the initial regulations, only land-based sports betting is considered to be legal and offered. This means the three license holders, for now, have to take bets on their properties. Online sportsbooks will soon appear on the market, most likely in the form of modernized websites operated by the Delaware racetracks.
When will online sports betting be legal in Delaware?
While there is no official timeline for legal online sports betting in Delaware. We can expect that the state will move on this sometime in 2019. The numbers coming in from the nearby states on the volume of bets coming from mobile and online will no doubt sway legislators to amend the current legislation and allow regulated sites to open within the state
What is the best online sportsbook for residents of Delaware?
Generally speaking, the best online sportsbook for residents of Delaware will be those that can offer the most games and the best odds. It remains to be seen if the racetracks will be the only online sports betting operators but one should hope that it won’t be the case as larger national operators generally have more competitive products. While the user journey may be the same, the bets offered and the promotions available can vary widely, so you should do your research and find one that fits your needs, then make a deposit and make your bets!