Last Updated Feb 04, 2022, 8:59 AM
Sports Betting Expert
Known as The First State, Delaware stayed true to its name by becoming the first state outside of Nevada to offer legal betting on sports. The actual launch was in June of 2018, even ahead of New Jersey.
Delaware is also one of the more progressive states in the country when it comes to all forms of legal gambling. There are three land-based casinos in the state with retail sportsbooks and horse racing tracks.
Legal online gambling options in Delaware do not exist at this time. Yet, state law does not specifically prohibit online sportsbooks. This opens the door for expansion into online sportsbooks at some point in the future.
With a very healthy retail segment, Delaware continues to expand its overall sports betting handle. The three retail sportsbook locations are Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, Delaware Park Racetrack and Slots and Harrington Raceway and Casino.
Given the small size of this state, access to one of the three retail sportsbooks is a short drive from any location. This includes neighboring Maryland, which has yet to go live with its legal sports betting operations.
All forms of gambling in the state fall under the jurisdiction of the Delaware Lottery. Legal betting on sports in some form can be traced back to 1976 when the state lottery offered parlay wagers on NFL games.
Even after the federal government cracked down on illegal sports betting with the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 1992, the Delaware Lottery was given permission to allow betting parlays.
Every state in the US was given the right to govern and regulate sports betting in May of 2018. Delaware was already in position to make the shift to a full menu of sports betting options through its network of casinos.
The issue at hand in this state is opening up the market for legal online US-based sportsbook operators. Given that Delaware has been so progressive towards legal gambling, it is hard to see why online sports betting has not been added to the list.
One of the primary reasons why Delaware has not pursued online gaming to its fullest is to protect its strong retail gaming segment. As mentioned, these three casino-sportsbook- horse racing venues cover quite a bit of ground in a small geographic area.
This stance is likely to change at some point in time. However, at the time being there are no active measures in place.
Written by Dave Schwab, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert. You can learn more about our author's expertise here.