Sports betting is a big part of the identity of Delaware. A county with no teams of its own, the Diamond State has a diverse collection of fans from neighboring states. This has allowed the thriving Delaware sports betting market to grow, which is only made more interesting by this diverse population of fans.
Delaware Sports Betting
The Delaware betting history starts with horseracing, but since the early days, that has expanded into football, soccer, baseball, hockey, and more. Not only have more sports been added to the newly legal sportsbooks, but more levels too. Fantasy, college, and professional sports are all popular to bet on, with the newest addition of fantasy sports taking off in popularity in recent years.
Despite the gambling venues of New Jersey just a short drive away, Delaware offers a feverish and thriving sports betting landscape that is ripe for playing in and even ripe for businesses to grow in.
Best Delaware Sports Betting Sites
Shortly after PASPA was repealed, the Delaware State became the first state outside of Nevada to legalize and regulate sports betting, including wagering on individual games and futures. However, all gambling in the state falls under the oversight of the Delaware State Lottery, which allows any mobile betting app to accept online sports betting.
There is currently no estimated launch date for the Delaware Lottery’s online gambling platform. To legally bet on sports online, as a Delaware sports bettor, you must travel to either neighboring Pennsylvania or New Jersey.
Legal Online Delaware Sports Betting
Sports gambling has been legal in Delaware since 2018 when the Supreme Court overturned the 1992 PASPA federal law prohibiting sports betting in all states besides Nevada. Delaware was the first state to legalize sports betting, resulting in other states following suit. Sports betting is now open to anyone over 21 in Delaware.
Online and mobile betting, however, is still restricted but not banned. This means that only three land-based casinos are licensed to allow sports betting. The three casinos are the Dover Downs Casino, the Delaware Park Casino, and the Harrington Raceway and Casino.
There are currently no plans to allow Delaware sports betting in mobile form from the authorities. Still, the introduction of online sportsbooks has allowed bettors to bet on sports from home, throughout their commute, at the sports bar, and anywhere else in the state of Delaware.
The state does have a tax rate on sports betting of 43% but only taxes Delaware sports betting and casinos. Bettors do not need to pay taxes whenever they win, but the Delaware tax system does require operators to pay for a license and will absorb the casinos’ gross yearly revenue with a cap of $3.75 million. Once the casino’s revenue passes that figure, the state will lower its rate and take only 43% of its annual revenue.
How to pick a Delaware Sports Betting Site
Delaware doesn’t yet allow for mobile sports betting apps, and there is no sign of whether an online sports book will appear in the future. However, the biggest casinos in the state, like Delaware Park Casino, Dover Downs Casino, and Harrington Raceway Casino, have expressed varying interest rates in the idea of releasing mobile apps, so it could happen sometime in the future.
In the meantime, Delaware residents place a sports bet safely and securely on online sportsbooks via a browser, which can be accessed via their phone if they choose. Make sure that any site you bet with is authorized by the Delaware Lottery, which licenses and regulates gambling in The Diamond State. The Delaware Lottery is responsible for regulating and licensing all gambling institutes in the First State.
If you’re ready to start playing and trust the authorities that regulate the sites you’re looking at, you might want to take a look at the available promotions. It can come down to something as simple as a better welcome bonus or better odds that the site can offer. Make sure you consider exactly what you’re looking for from an online betting platform, as this will better inform future offers and platforms.
History / Timeline of Sports Betting in Delaware
Delaware has a long and exciting history with gambling, particularly sports betting. Initially, the state’s impression was to clean up gambling, which was given its best boost in 1933 when the Diamond State created various regulatory establishments, like the Hardness Racing Commission and the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission, to bring structure to the horse racing market. Soon after, in 1937, Delaware Park became the first establishment to gain a license to allow sports betting in Delaware.
The Delaware Sports Betting Bill of 1946 was introduced, helping to establish Harrington Raceway as the second racetrack to offer licensed sports betting. The Dover Downs racetrack was added to that collection in 1969.
In 1974, the Delaware Lottery was established, offering to wager on horse racing, and eventually started releasing lottery games. This was the start of regulation in sports betting, as the Delaware Lottery would also be in charge of releasing licenses for sports betting.
In 1992, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 was passed, prohibiting sports betting throughout the United States, except for licensed sports pools in Nevada and sports lotteries in Oregon, Montana, and Delaware. However, sports betting in Delaware was still limited to the three biggest horse racing tracks. To improve taxes and revenues at legal racetracks, the Horse Racing Preservation Act was passed in 1994.
As the internet took off, changes to gambling came in fast. Such as in 2009, when a rule was added to allow residents of the Diamond State to place sports bets through lottery-style parlay bets. Three years later, online poker and virtual casino gaming became state-approved, and in 2018 the Delaware sports betting bill was passed, overturning the 1992 PASPA and allowing online sports betting to expand in the state. Since 2018 future games and single-game bets have been accepted throughout the state.
Delaware Sports Teams
Delaware is pretty low on their professional teams; therefore, the locals tend to support any of the teams physically closest to them, usually from Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. A lack of teams isn’t going to stem the tide of sports betting fans in Delaware, which is evident in its rush to be the first to allow legal sports betting. This lack of a sole state team has made for a diverse range of fans connecting with sports teams.
The biggest sports fans in Delaware belong to the Philadelphia Eagles. To be an Eagles fan is almost a religious experience, with a loyal fanbase that considers it almost part of their identity. And with 28 playoff appearances to their name, including the latest 2021 season, who can blame them. But amongst the NFL fans are also the Baltimore Ravens and the Washington Commanders. These are less favored in Delaware but have made their mark on a substantial chunk of the sports fans in Delaware. This makes The First State quite the battleground for a historic rivalry between the Eagles and the Commanders that has been brewing for decades.
Meanwhile, basketball fans can look to their own Delaware Blue Coats team for their NBA needs. They are a G-league, but they are an affiliate of the Philadelphia 76ers and are the pride of Delaware. For more professional games, the locals of the Diamond State have to look to Philadelphia and the 76ers, as well as the Washington Wizards, both impressive teams. The Wizards won the championship once in 1978, but the 76ers have won three times in their history, making for some nail-biting seasons.
Hockey fans will again have to stick to the smaller leagues to support their state. The Delaware Thunder hockey team is based in Harrington and is a member of the Federal Prospects Hockey League. Meanwhile, the Washington Capitals often play against the Philadelphia Flyers in the NHL. The Capitals have won a Stanley Cup while the Flyers have taken home two.
Delaware doesn’t have its own baseball team either, so Delaware locals have the choice between the Washington Nationals or the Philadelphia Phillies for their baseball teams. They are pretty well matched, the Phillies having two World Series titles but the latest in 2008 and the Nationals gaining their first just in 2019. If you are loyal to Delaware, you can look at the minor league to support your Wilmington Blue Rocks on their journey.
Soccer isn’t as big in America as it is in Europe, but there is still some sticking around. In Delaware, the University of Delaware teams, the Blue Hens, are the soccer heroes, with the men’s and women’s teams offering a formidable force to the game. Elsewhere, the Philadelphia Union, D.C. United, and the FC Baltimore Christos are in the MLS.
That’s just the local teams. Delaware fans are dedicated and varied, and there is betting on European leagues of all genres of sport, but golf, auto racing, MMA, boxing, rugby, cycling, darts, and horse racing.
On the face of it, it might look like there isn’t much to choose from when your loyalty is with Delaware, but when you look closer, you’ll find a lot to support and bet on when watching all the games around you.
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Retail Sports Betting in Delaware
Three retail premises are available for Delaware sports betting, all built on a history of horseracing: Bally’s Dover Downs, Harrington Raceway and Casino, and Casino at Delaware Park.
Bally’s offers a full gambling experience. Beyond sports betting, the venue offers 2,000 slot machines, table games, a spa, a fitness center, nine restaurants and bars, and an entertainment venue for live music events. On the sports betting front, the Dover Downs offers 250 seat sportsbook.
Delaware Park encourages you to “bet like you’re in Las Vegas,” with loads to help you get there. Bet on professional and college sports with parlays, straight bets, round robins, teasers, futures, and more.
The Harrington Raceway and Casino also offers a fully rounded gaming experience, with hotel rooms, spa, and music venues, but the real action is with the sports betting. Covering auto racing, horse racing, college football, baseball, college basketball, hockey, golf, and college soccer, the Harrington Racecourse offers a betting experience while watching the great horseracing moments of the past in the Bonz Patio with the simulcast horse racing.
As of yet, there are no tribal casinos for sports betting in Delaware. Unfortunately, there aren’t any tribal casinos in the surrounding states of New Jersey, Maryland, or Virginia to play in. If Delaware locals are looking to gamble in tribal casinos, they can take a quick drive into Pennsylvania. However, they are only tribal-owned and are on US land. Two tribes are the owners and operators of the Mohegan Sun Pocono and the Wind Creek Bethlehem establishments in Pennsylvania.
There are two state-recognized tribes in Delaware: the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware and the Nanticoke Indian Tribe, the eleven in Virginia, the three in New Jersey, and the two in Maryland. It’s possible that any one of them could see the merits in opening an online casino and pursuing sports betting in the future, potentially even offering Delaware sports betting fans a place to play within the state.
Daily Fantasy Sports
Daily Fantasy Sports have been legal in the Diamond State since 2017. They weren’t the first this time, in fact they were the 14 th state to legalize Daily Fantasy Sports. This is due to Governor John Carney signing a bill in 2018 that recognized fantasy sports as a game of skill rather than a game of chance. However, the bill also says that Daily Fantasy Sports operators pay an annual fee of $50,000 plus 15% of their annual revenue to the state to continue operating. This has left only DraftKings and FanDuel standing in Delaware.
Without the gambling element, fantasy games can be applied to just about any sport and even some things that aren’t technically considered a sport. But the most popular sports to make appearances on fantasy sports betting platforms in Delaware are the NFL, the NBA, the MLB, the NHL, and college fantasy sports. Even with the lack of Delaware teams for each national league, the locals of Delaware love their sport and fantasy sport almost as much. The demand for Daily Fantasy Sports is there, and platforms like DraftKings and FanDuel are responding.
DraftKings offers all the above leagues, plus soccer, golf, MMA, Nascar, the CFL, and eSports. They offer six ways to play that include public games for cash prizes or one on one games with a buddy and a points system that will gain you rewards. On the other hand, FanDuel offers a lot of promotions, including a range of promotions to allow new players to learn the game.
Offshore Sports Betting
Of course, in the days before Delaware’s historic turnaround of gambling laws, the option for sports betting was to look into offshore betting platforms. Now that gambling is freely available in the Diamond State with the successful launch of Delaware sports betting, there isn’t much incentive to continue using offshore platforms.
A lot of offshore platforms should be avoided. The decider is if they are regulated. Unregulated platforms are likely not licensed or regulated, which can turn out badly for you because the site is often fraudulent, and should something go wrong, you will have less chance of getting your money back.
When looking at offshore sites, be sure that you know the platform is regulated and by what company. Companies based in Costa Rica or Curacao are recognized internationally and therefore are considered safe for all to use.
Delaware Horse Racing & Off-Track Betting
Horse racing is a big part of Delaware’s gambling identity. The earliest sports betting laws around gambling enacted in Delaware were centered around horseracing. With the lifting of these laws, The Diamond State’s only three casinos were born, each partnered with a horse racetrack.
These three casinos are the Delaware Park Casino, Bally’s Dover Downs, and Harrington Raceway and Casino.
On top of the horseracing, Delaware Park Casino and Bally’s Dover Downs offer over 2,000 slot machines, popular table games, a poker room, and sports betting on professional and college sports. The Harrington Raceway and Casino is a part entertainment venue, so on top of the horseracing, casino games, and sports betting, it has a bar, a lounge, and a patio that always features some form of live entertainment, including music and comedy.
Final Thoughts / Summary
Delaware has long established itself as a state that appreciates sports betting. Its history with horse racing has carved a path through gambling culture as a hub of sports fans that appreciate betting on everything from fantasy to college to professional levels.
The relaxing of gambling laws has resulted in a reasonable amount of casino platforms and sportsbooks that are ready and willing to fill in the supply of the Delaware sports betting demand.
However, there is always room for growth, and the Delaware sports betting landscape could blossom with some friendly competition, especially with the rise of fantasy football and other fantasy sports. There is perhaps room for the larger casinos in Delaware to expand into fantasy sports to get past the details of the 2018 bill.
For now, Delaware offers a diverse and vibrant sports betting environment, where people support a range of teams from a variation of sports, keeping the sports betting industry alive.