After the Governor of Delaware plunked down $10 on June 5 to back his beloved Philadelphia Phillies over the Chicago Cubs, the bet signaled the beginning of a new age in American sports gambling.
Governor John Carney’s flier about the Phillies managed to produce a $20 profit also, after 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 purchased by more severe bettors, such as a string of $500 baseball bets placed by local pro Stu Feiner.
All in all, across the state’s three racetrack / casino places — Delaware Park, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, and Harrington Raceway & Casino — accumulated $322,135 in wagers on the first day of business. That number comes directly from Delaware Lottery director Vernon Kirk, who heads the regulatory group helping get Delaware’s sports betting industry up and running.
Residents of and visitors to Delaware have managed to partially bet on sports for many decades, but merely on»parlay cards» according to National Football League (NFL) games. Those parlay cards demanded several winners to be linked together, and the only tickets that cashed were those that showed 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 other than Nevada for that issue. Under a federal law called the skilled and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, single-game sports betting was banned anywhere but the Silver State.
That all changed on May 14, but when the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark 6-3 judgment in a case called Murphy v. NCAA. That case originated in New Jersey, after the Garden State made repeated attempts to pass its sports betting 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 in the winning column.
When the Court ruled that PASPA violated the 10th amendment to the U.S. Constitution — which grants states the right to pass their own laws absent Congressional action — PASPA was officially struck down for good.
What followed the decision three weeks ago has been a veritable gold rush, with New Jersey racing to place the last touches on its own statewide regulations.
But while lawmakers in New Jersey took their time, their counterparts in Delaware had legal frameworks in place as a result of their parlay card surgery. Called the First State for a reason, Delaware went fast to become the first state out of 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’s actually an improvement of our tourism industry.
It’ll attract a lot of visitors to our nation, especially in this time of year, throughout summer time, coming to our beautiful beaches south of this.
They are here and stop at the casinos and also do slot machines and table gambling. This will be an additional opportunity for them.»
Carney also took a moment to hype Delaware as the Northeast’s latest sports betting destination when speaking to USA Today:
«Gloating in this industry does not last very long.
We are happy to be first today.
I don’t expect we will be the only one very long, but today it feels very good to be original.»
(Quotation link)
Carney’s historical first wager was set at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, however, the state is home to 2 more racetrack / casinos with in-house sportsbooks: Delaware Park Racetrack and Harrington Raceway and Casino.
Until the sportsbooks in Atlantic City go live — that should be any minute now — Delaware stands out as the only spot for residents of the East Coast to place wagers. With that in mind, bettors will be flocking to these casinos from all corners of the Northeast.
To help get you started in your sports betting journey, I have gone ahead and visited all the three 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
Phone: -LRB-302-RRB-??994-2521
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 this state, in the city of Wilmington, Delaware Park Racetrack is your very conveniently accessible venue for folks in New York and New England.
It is also the most attractive of the trio, the casino centre 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 estate, but as soon as you step foot in you will feel as if you have walked on the casino floor in Las Vegas.
Between the slot machines, bright lights, and gold trimming, this place is more like the Golden Nugget than your average rural racetrack.
Once you discover the sportsbook areas — that are situated in the clubhouses on 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 used to be cutting edge in Las Vegas about 10 years back, however Sin City has phased them out in favor of high-definition television displays instead.
But you know what they say about one man’s trash being another’s treasure, so Delaware Park is happy to have the gambling boards onsite.
Just ask William Fasy, who serves as president of Delaware Park. During an interview with Deadspin to celebrate his sportsbook opening for business, Fasy touted his place’s most prominent technological flourish:
«These planks were purchased eight decades ago, and they are no more used in Vegas.
But they are the top boards in Delaware!»
(Quotation link)
If you’re unfamiliar with a sportsbook betting board that the picture below will show you exactly what I’m talking about.
Sports Book Beting Board
As you can see, each game or bet is coded using a base number (401, 402, etc., in the example picture above). When betting on 401 from the picture above, you’d be financing the Minnesota Vikings (-10) within 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 wanted to take Minnesota with no spread, just look for the negative or positive numbers to the right of the point spread. These figures are known as the»moneyline,» and they represent true chances on your wager. For the Vikings instance, you’d be financing a big (-600) favorite, while a bet on the underdog Rams would offer (+400) on your cash.
Each participant or team will have their own number, so you’d simply tell the clerk»$100 on 401moneyline please» to place a c-note down on the Vikes.
Along with the fancy gaming planks, Delaware Park has also put up a bank of self employed wagering kiosks. These were not up and running just yet when I visited the facility, but they seemed like ATM machines from the early 1990s. Think a boxy framework, small display, and no-nonsense interface and you will find the idea.
You can wager to your heart’s content in Delaware Park, which offers daily action on Major League Baseball (MLB), plus the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals, along with a slew of everyday golfing clubs and tennis tournaments.
If you are considering futures betting, have a shot in the forthcoming 2018 World Cup soccer tournament, or try and predict that NFL team will take the Super Bowl title this year.
Fasymade it clear in a form of meet and greets with the local media that Delaware Park will be going»all in» on its sportsbook. According to him, every Kind of betting will be on the table, save you:
«I think the only thing we are not going to provide is’in game’ wagering.
You are likely to have prop bets. You’re just not likely to have in game prop bets happening.
And eventually you’re going to have a mobile device.»
(Quote link)
The concept of in-game betting was popularized by online sportsbooks, with gamers able to place extra wagers even as the match is ongoing. Say your group drops right into an early hole, and you are keen on balancing the ledger. Putting an in-game wager on the other side provides valuable protection against upsets and unexpected conditions.
While the in-game betting fad won’t be coming into Delaware Park just yet, Fasy did allude to the development of mobile and online wagering in the future.
Don’t forget, Delaware is one of only three countries — along with Nevada and New Jersey — where a legal and regulated online gaming business has already gone live. With internet casinos and poker rooms currently hosted by the state’s three casino / racetracks, it won’t be long till you can download the Delaware Park sportsbook app straight to your smartphone or cellular device.
If it comes to customer support, Delaware Park really hit the ball out of the park. Under guidance from Fasy — who is clearly enthusiastic about turning the place into a sports bettor’s haven — the team here are educated and courteous. Sure, a couple hiccups could be seen concerning erroneous tickets and the like, such as my futures bet on the Miami Dolphins year win total being entered as a Miami Marlins moneyline by mistake.
However, those growing pains should be expected for any new sportsbook. Because of this helpful attendants, I managed to cancel the Marlins ticket and exchange it to the Dolphins in a matter of minutes.
All in all, I can not recommend Delaware Park enough, based both on the venue’s modern sense and Fasy’s clear dedication 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 Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, my very first thought was of the glittering Off-Strip casinos sprinkled throughout the Las Vegas desert.
Places such as the South Point and Red Rock Resort, which unite sprawling hotel towers crossing a number of stories with classical architecture — that is what Dover Downs is going for.
And the illusion isn’t broken one piece when you walk through the doors. Vaulted ceilings, fancy art, and marble floors all combine to turn the area into a casino connoisseur’s dream come true. This place includes conference halls, shopping outlets, and naturally, a racetrack where NASCAR events are hosted every year.
Head through the primary entrance and find the nearest bar off to the side, and you’ll be smack dab in the sportsbook. Just search for the big comfy chairs and enormous projector displays overhead, and you’re there.
At first glance, the sportsbook facility at Dover Downs seems to suggest a flourishing enterprise set to capitalize on the passing of PASPA. And to be sure, the centre has expanded its offerings to include the full complement of single-game wagers, props, and futures.
However during my time , the focus from staff and customers alike remained on horse racing. That makes sense I guess, what with the venue’s longstanding affiliation with the»Sport of Kings.»
I had been curious, however, about the apparent lack of buzz concerning ordinary sports gambling, especially with the NBA and NHL Finals going on in the time.
Just a little digging around advised the tale, like I found the following quotation from Dover Downs president Ed Sutor in an article published by theDelaware Public:
«It’s nice to have. [But] in Nevada, where they have had it for 50 decades, it merely represents about two percent of their revenues.
A good deal of people are mistaking the numbers bet as the revenue.
It is not a massive take for the business.»
(Quotation link)
Sutor was not the only Dover Downs executive that seemed to be lukewarm at best when it came to enlarged sportsbooks in the nation:
Dover Downs Gamingchief executive officer Denis McGlynn threw cold water on the notion that sports betting would be an economic boon for the nation when speaking to Delaware Online:
«There’s a great deal of rhetoric that gets thrown around down there which does not have some basis in fact.People need to control their expectations on this.
The dollars that are left over after you pay back the winners are extremely little and you split it among a variety of people within this state.
When (surrounding states) get up and running, we’re just going to observe a draining of individuals that are coming here, just as we’ve observed from the normal casino business and before this at the horse racing industry.»
(Quote link)
Even though a pragmatic company outlook certainly is reasonable, especially by an operator’s standpoint, I am not sure I know Dover Downs’ angle on this.
By neglecting to adopt the entire array of sports betting options now open to Delaware, the venue risks being abandoned in Delaware Park’s dust. And perhaps that’s already the case.
This past year the state of Delaware accumulated $1.9 million in earnings on its own parlay card games. From that figure, Delaware Park dominated the market with $1.2 million, almost three times that taken in by Dover Downs ($422,000).
The absence of faith expressed by the higher-ups at Dover Downs appears to have trickled down to the team level. Clerks did not seem very educated when I asked about futures and unless you’re wagering on the ponies, nobody expressed the kind excitement I felt back in Delaware Park.
And that’s a pity too, because from the outside , this site boasts the kind of conveniences every gambler enjoys.
Harrington Raceway and Casino
Address: 18500 S Dupont Hwy, Harrington, DE 19952
Phone: -LRB-302-RRB-??398-4920
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, just an hour and a half from Baltimore and Philadelphia.
However, you’re going to be forgiven for driving right by the location without even noticing.
This casino has been affixed to a little harness racing track, and the entire 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 entertainment is afoot. It’s an interesting design choice to say the least, and things do not exactly enhance when you go inside.
If you have ever been to the older Downtown district in Las Vegas — home of»fabulous» Fremont Street — then you understand what to expect at Harrington Raceway. Rundown slot machines, aging d??cor, and a normally sullen scene would be the defining features of the casino floor.
Luckily for bettors, the sportsbook area does provide a bit of advancement — but just barely. Matters fell nicer in there, however, the set up of private cubicles with attached TV monitors — standard for racebooks — is not exactly inviting. The projector displays overhead are large and bright however, so I’ll give them that much.
Interestingly , Harrington Raceway’s chief executive officer Patti Key has yet to comment publicly on the legalization of sport betting. Whether that speaks to a companywide philosophy emphasizing horse racing across the sportsbook isn’t for me to say but Key remaining tight-lipped is pretty intriguing.
Because of the monitor’s standing as a serious harness racing facility, the sportsbook is generally crowded ahead of scheduled start times. If you’re there for sports only, be sure to catch a copy of the daily racing form to see when the lines will probably start stacking up.
A nice byproduct of this place’s serious approach to horse racing is that the staff are prepared and ready to roll. I had to correct a couple of ticket authors from time to time in the other two sportsbooks, but the people in Harrington batted 1.000 in relation to precision.
In general, the experience surpassed what I would’ve anticipated when I saw the building, which is likely the reason why they say to never judge a book by it’s cover.
Based on where you call home, among the 3 venues listed above are the most convenient based solely on closeness. That’s probably reason enough to choose a favorite, but because Delaware is a small state, you can hit all three inside a weekend to see them up close and personal.
In regard to my own tour of the nation’s sportsbooks, I preferred Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway, and Dover Downs in this order.
Delaware Park benefits from the enthusiasm of its direction, as Fasy brings a genuine interest in the sports betting business to the table. His team are really eager to help new bettors learn the ropes, and that goes a long way in my book. When the very first online sportsbooks go live in the very first State, I’ll bet my bottom Delaware Park is running the series.
Harrington Raceway might not be much to check 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 success goes to sports betting remains to be seen, however I’ve a feeling serious bettors will call this place home.
As for Dover Downs, my feelings on the problem are easy — when the people in charge don’t appreciate sports gambling, they won’t appreciate sports bettors either. Until I hear word of a change in tone coming down the chain of control, I just wouldn’t anticipate the mistakes and malaise here to be resolved anytime soon.

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