After the Governor of Delaware plunked down $10 on June 5 to back his beloved Philadelphia Phillies within the Chicago Cubs, the bet indicated the start of a new age in American sports betting.
Governor John Carney’s flier about the Phillies managed to create a $20 profit too, following the (+200) underdogs managed to upset that the Cubbies.
That ceremonial bet placed at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino was quickly followed by several larger tickets purchased by more severe bettors, such as a string of $500 baseball bets placed by local ace Stu Feiner.
Overall, across the state’s three racetrack / casino venues — Delaware Park, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, and Harrington Raceway & Casino — collected $322,135 at wagers on the first day of business. That amount comes directly from Delaware Lottery manager Vernon Kirk, who heads the regulatory team helping to get Delaware’s sports gambling industry ready to go.
Residents of and visitors to Delaware have been able to partially bet on sports for several decades, but only on”parlay cards” based on National Football League (NFL) games. Those parlay cards required many winners to be connected together, and also the only tickets which cashed were those who showed all winners.
Conventional 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 matter. Under a federal law called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, single-game sports gambling was prohibited everywhere but the Silver State.
That all changed on May 14, however, when the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark 6-3 judgment 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), along with the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL, New Jersey’s final 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 laws absent Congressional action — PASPA was officially struck down for good.
What followed that decision three months ago was a veritable gold rush, with New Jersey rushing to place the last touches on its statewide regulations.
But while lawmakers in New Jersey took their time, their counterparts from Delaware had legal frameworks set up thanks to their parlay card operation. Known as the First State for a motive, Delaware went quickly to become the first state outside Nevada to accept legal sports wagers.
Here is how Governor Carney described the sports gambling launching in an interview with ESPN Chalk:
“For us, it’s really an enhancement of our tourism industry.
It will attract a lot of traffic to our state, particularly at this time of year, throughout the summer, coming into our beautiful beaches south of here.
They are here and stop in the casinos and also 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 newest sports betting destination when talking to USA Today:
“Gloating in this industry does not last quite long.
We are happy to be first today.
I really don’t expect we will be the just one very long, but now it feels very good to be first.”
Carney’s historic first bet was set at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, however, the country is home to two racetrack / casinos with 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 sole spot for residents of the East Coast to place wagers. Bearing 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 3 sportsbooks in Delaware. Below you’ll discover honest and objective reviews of each facility, together with have to know information such as the address, contact number, website, and distances from regional population centres.
Check out my reviews of the 3 sportsbook places 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 country, in the city of Wilmington, Delaware Park Racetrack is your most conveniently accessible venue for folks in New York and New England.
It’s also the most appealing of the trio, the casino centre nestled close to the banks of the Delaware River along a grassy green mountain. In the outside, Delaware Park appears to be just another stately three-story property, but once 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 golden trim, this place is similar to the Golden Nugget compared to typical rural racetrack.
When you find the sportsbook areas — that are located in the clubhouses around the 1st and 3rd floors — you will be greeted by an array of brightly colored tiny lightbulbs exhibiting the day’s lines and odds. These betting boards was cutting edge in Las Vegas about 10 years ago, but Sin City has phased out them in favor of high-definition tv screens instead.
But you know what they say about one person’s trash being another’s treasure, so Delaware Park is happy to have the gambling boards on site.
Just ask William Fasy, that serves as president of Delaware Park. During a meeting with Deadspin to celebrate his sportsbook opening for company, Fasy touted his venue’s most prominent technological boom:
“These planks were purchased eight decades ago, and they’re no more used anymore in Vegas.
But they are the top boards in Delaware!”
If you are unfamiliar with a sportsbook gaming enthusiast the picture below will show you what I am talking about.
Sports Book Beting Board
As you can see, each game or wager is coded using a base amount (401, 402, etc. in the example image above). When betting on 401 in the image above, you’d be financing the Minnesota Vikings (-10) within the Los Angeles Rams. This (-10) figure denotes the point spread, so in this case, that the Vikings will be laying 10 points to the Rams.
If you wished to take Minnesota without the spread, just look for the positive or negative numbers to the right of the point spread. These figures are known as the”moneyline,” plus they reflect true odds on your wager. For the Vikings example, you’d be backing a big (-600) favorite, while a wager on the underdog Rams would provide (+400) in your cash.
Each participant or team will have their own number, so you’d just tell the clerk”$100 on 401moneyline please” to put a c-note down on the Vikes.
In addition to the fancy gaming planks, Delaware Park has also set up a bank of self employed wagering kiosks. These were not up and running just yet when I visited the centre, but they looked like ATM machines in the early 1990s. Think a boxy frame, small display, and no-nonsense interface and you will find the idea.
It is possible to bet for your heart’s content at Delaware Park, which offers daily action on Major League Baseball (MLB), and also the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals, and a slew of daily golfing and tennis tournaments.
If you’re interested in futures betting, have a shot in the forthcoming 2018 World Cup soccer championship, or attempt to forecast which NFL team will take the Super Bowl title this year.
Fasymade it clear in a form of meet and greets with the regional media that Delaware Park will be going”all in” on its sportsbook. According to him, each form of gambling will be on the table, save you:
“I feel the only thing we’re not likely to offer is’in game’ wagering.
You are likely to have prop bets. You are simply not likely to have in sport prop bets going on.
And you’re going to have a truly mobile device”
The concept of in-game gambling was popularized by online sportsbooks, with players able to place additional wagers even as the match is continuing. Say your team drops right into an early hole, and you are keen on balancing the ledger. Putting an in-game bet on the other side provides valuable protection against upsets and unforeseen circumstances.
While the in-game betting fad won’t be coming into Delaware Park just yet, Fasy did allude to the emergence of mobile and internet wagering in the future.
Do not overlook, Delaware is one of only three countries — along with Nevada and New Jersey — where a legal and regulated online gaming business has gone live. With online casinos and poker rooms already hosted by the country’s three casino racetracks, it will not 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 service, Delaware Park really hit the ball out of the park. Under guidance from Fasy — who is obviously enthusiastic about turning the area into a sports bettor’s harbor — the staff here are knowledgeable and considerate. Sure, a couple hiccups could be observed in terms of erroneous tickets and the like, for example my futures bet on the Miami Dolphins season win total being entered as a Miami Marlins moneyline by error.
However, those growing pains should be expected for any new sportsbook. Thanks to this useful attendants, I was able to cancel the Marlins ticket and exchange it for the Dolphins in a matter of minutes.
All in all, I can’t suggest Delaware Park enough, based both on the venue’s contemporary sense and Fasy’s clear dedication to producing the state’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 such as the South Point and Red Rock Resort, which unite sprawling hotel towers crossing a number of stories with classical architecture — that’s what Dover Downs is about for.
And the illusion is not broken one piece when you walk through the doors. Vaulted ceilings, fancy art, and marble flooring all combine to turn the area into a casino connoisseur’s dream come true. This location includes conference halls, shopping outlets, and of course, a racetrack where NASCAR events are hosted each year.
Head through the main entry and locate the closest bar off to the side, and you’ll be smack dab in the sportsbook. Just look for the large comfy chairs and enormous projector screens overhead, and you are there.
At first glance, the sportsbook facility at Dover Downs seems to suggest a flourishing 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.
However during my time , the focus from staff and clients alike stayed on horse racing. This makes sense I suppose, what with the place’s longstanding association with the”Sport of Kings.”
I was curious, however, about the apparent absence of buzz concerning ordinary sports betting, especially with the NBA and NHL Finals going on in the moment.
Just a little digging around told the tale, like I found the following quotation from Dover Downs president Ed Sutor within an article published by theDelaware Public:
“It’s wonderful to have. [But] at Nevada, where they have had it for 50 years, it only represents about two percent of their earnings.
A lot of people are mistaking the numbers bet as the revenue.
It’s not a massive take for the industry.”
Sutor wasn’t 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 notion that sports gambling are an economic boon for the state when speaking to Delaware Online:
“There is a lot of rhetoric that gets thrown around down there which does not have some basis in fact.People need to manage their expectations on this.
The dollars that are left after you pay back the winners are very little and you split it among a variety of people in this state.
When (surrounding countries ) wake up and running, we are going to see a draining of people that are coming here, just as we have seen in the normal casino industry and prior to that in the horse racing business.”
While a pragmatic business standpoint certainly makes sense, especially from an operator’s perspective, I’m 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 place risks being left 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 market with $1.2 million, almost 3 times that obtained in by Dover Downs ($422,000).
The lack of faith expressed by the higher-ups at Dover Downs seems to have trickled down to the staff level. Clerks didn’t seem very informed when I asked about futures and unless you were wagering on the ponies, nobody voiced the type excitement I felt back at Delaware Park.
And that is 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
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 one hour and a half from Baltimore and Philadelphia.
However, you’ll be forgiven for driving by the location without ever even noticing.
This casino is affixed to a small harness racing course, along with the entire grounds was built out in the middle of nowhere.
The casino building’s exterior resembles that of non-denominational church, rather than much adorns it to suggest gambling and entertainment is afoot. It’s an interesting design choice to say the least, and things don’t exactly enhance when you head indoors.
If you have ever been into 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, along with a generally sullen scene would be the defining characteristics of this casino floor.
Luckily for bettors, the sportsbook area does provide a little bit of improvement — but just barely. Things fell nicer in there, but the setup of personal cubicles with attached TV monitors — standard for racebooks — is not exactly inviting. The projector screens overhead are large and bright though, so I will give them that far.
Interestingly enough, Harrington Raceway’s chief executive officer Patti Key has yet to comment publicly on the legalization of sports betting. Whether that speaks to some companywide philosophy highlighting horse racing across the sportsbook isn’t to me to say but Key remaining tight-lipped is pretty intriguing.
Due to the monitor’s status as a serious harness racing centre, the sportsbook is generally crowded before scheduled start times. If you are there for sports only, make sure you grab a copy of the daily racing form to see when the lines will 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 needed to correct a couple of ticket authors from time to time at the other two sportsbooks, but the people in Harrington batted 1.000 in terms of precision.
Overall, the experience surpassed what I would have anticipated when I saw the construction, which is likely the reason why they say never to judge a book by it’s cover.
Depending on the place you call home, one of the three venues listed above will be the most suitable based solely on closeness. That is probably reason enough to choose a favorite, but because Delaware is a small country, you can hit all three inside a weekend to view them up close and personal.
In terms of my tour of the state’s sportsbooks, I favored Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway, and Dover Downs in that order.
Delaware Park benefits from the excitement of its leadership, as Fasy brings a real interest in the sports gambling business to the table. His team are really eager to assist new bettors learn the principles, and that goes a long way in my book. When the first online sportsbooks go reside in the First State, I’ll bet my bottom Delaware Park is running the series.
Harrington Raceway might not be much to check at, but the place knows how to conduct a racebook. The staff can answer questions and guide you through the process easily. Whether that victory goes to sports betting remains to be seen, however I’ve a feeling severe bettors can call this place home.
In terms of Dover Downs, my feelings on the situation are simple — when the people in charge do not appreciate sports betting, they won’t appreciate sports bettors either. Until I hear word of a change in tone coming down the chain of control, I simply wouldn’t expect the mistakes and malaise here to be resolved anytime soon.