Delaware Sports Betting

Delaware‘s official nickname is The First State, because it was the first state to ratify the US Constitution in 1787. 231 years later, it also became the first state in the union to offer sports betting after PASPA‘s repeal.

So sports betting is legal in Delaware?

It happened. Delaware managed to beat New Jersey to the sports betting finish line. All three casinos in the state began accepting sports wagering on June 5, 2018.

Great! What three casinos?

Just for reference, they are:

  • Casino at Delaware Park – Wilmington
  • Dover Downs – Dover
  • Harrington Raceway & Casino – Harrington

Can I bet online or on my mobile device?

No. The legislation permitting gambling in the state requires physical presence to wager. However, there is no major opposition to mobile wagering in the future, so this status could easily change.

What sports can I bet in Delaware?

You can bet on professional sports in a variety of sports. You can also bet on college basketball and football.

Here is a list of all the available sports to bet. They are:

  • Auto racing
  • Baseball 
  • Basketball 
  • Boxing
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Hockey 
  • Mixed martial arts
  • Soccer

What kinds of wagers can I make?

The Delaware Lottery has published a how-to guide for betting in the state. In that guide, it details the types of bets accepted under law.

They are:

Typical Wagers

  • Point spread
    • This wager is the most common type in sports betting. In these bets, the sportsbook picks a favorite to win each contest and establishes its estimated margin of victory.
    • Bettors then wager on whether they believe the favorite will win by a greater margin of victory than the spread, or if the underdog will lose by less than the spread. If the underdog manages to do so, this is known as “covering” the spread.
  • Moneyline
    • In this type of wagering, players are merely picking which team or group will win the game outright.  The three-digit numbers next to each team’s name determine what the payout for a correct choice will be.
    • A positive number next to a team name identifies that team as the underdog, and the number is the payout on a $100 bet.
    • A negative number next to a team name identifies that team as the favorite, and the number is the amount of money one must wager to win $100.
  • Totals
    • For totals bets, the sportsbook establishes the total points it expects the teams to combine to score. Most people know this total as the “over/under.”
    • Bettors wager whether or not the sportsbook’s estimate is too high or too low. These bets win or lose irrespective of the game’s outcome.
  • Parlays
    • Parlays are essentially combination bets of the three types listed above.
    • However, parlays only pay if all parts of the bet win. As a result, the risk and reward are higher on these types of bets.

Less common wagers

  • Teasers
    • Teasers are a type of parlay.
    • They function roughly the same. However, in a teaser, the point spread is adjusted to be more in the player’s favor.
    • Because the risk goes down, the payout on teasers is lower than a normal parlay.
  • Round Robins
    • Round robins are a series of parlays.
    • They are analogous to boxed trifecta and boxed quinella bets on races.
    • They can be a way to mitigate some of the risk of parlays, although they will cost more to cover all the different ways the bets cover.
  • Futures
    • These bets are on events happening as the culmination of a particular season or period of time.
    • In other words, a futures bet is the sort where someone bets before the season begins that their team will win the championship.
  • Propositions
    • Proposition bets, or “prop” bets, are bets about events ancillary to the outcome of the game.
    • Examples of proposition bets include wagers about which team will score first, what the result of the coin flip will be, or how many hits a particular player will get.
    • Most of the time, if you hear a story about a bet people had with each other, it is a proposition bet.

Is there anywhere else in the state that offers sports betting?

No. It is unlikely that any other places will pop up soon, either.

The three casinos in Delaware function on what amounts to a joint license. The Delaware Lottery is unlikely to expand or allow another operator in such a small state.

On the bright side, Delaware is less than 100 miles long and 35 miles wide at its widest. So, you’ll never be more than an hour and 15 minutes from a casino anywhere in the state, and that’s if you’re on Fenwick Island.

How old do I have to be to bet?

21. Anyone under 21 may not place a wager on sports in Delaware.

Can I play daily fantasy sports in Delaware?

Yes. By virtue of a 2017 law, DFS play is legal and available in the state of Delaware. At present, there are three authorized operators that can offer DFS:

How did we get here?

Delaware managed to be the first post-PASPA state to offer sports betting in part due to its unique history. In 1976, Delaware’s lottery began to offer a parlay system on NFL football games.

The system was only in place for a single season. However, when PASPA came along in 1992, it carved out an exception for Delaware to offer this sort of wagering if it chose.

In doing so, Delaware became one of only four states exempted from PASPA in any way.

So, in 2009, the state brought it back, and it operated for NFL games until the present day. Even though attempts to expand the program to other sports failed, the revival meant that infrastructure for single-game wagering was already in place.

Thus, Delaware began accepting its first sports bets three weeks after PASPA’s repeal. So far, the results have been quite impressive.

In its first report, the Delaware Lottery, which oversees sports betting in the state, published some very impressive figures. The report revealed that between June 5 and June 26, Delaware casinos earned just over $1 million in revenue.

The revenue figure came from a $7 million handle. In other words, Delaware residents and visitors bet over $300,000 per day in the first 20 days of sports betting.

Such a successful debut should spell good things for the future of sports betting in the First State.