When the Governor of Delaware plunked down $10 on June 5 to back his beloved Philadelphia Phillies over the Chicago Cubs, the bet indicated the start of a new age in American sports gambling.
Governor John Carney’s flier on the Phillies even managed to create a $20 profit too, after the (+200) underdogs were able to upset that the Cubbies.
That ceremonial bet placed at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino was quickly followed by many bigger tickets purchased by more serious bettors, including a string of 500 baseball bets placed by local pro Stu Feiner.
All in all, across the state’s three racetrack / casino venues — Delaware Park, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, and Harrington Raceway & Casino — collected $322,135 in wagers on the first day of business. That amount 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 several decades, but merely on”parlay cards” based on National Football League (NFL) games. Those parlay cards demanded many winners to be connected together, and also the only tickets that 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 any American state other than Nevada for that issue. Under a federal law known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, single-game sports gambling was banned everywhere but the Silver State.
That all changed on May 14, however, when the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark 6-3 ruling in a case called Murphy v. NCAA. That case originated in New Jersey, after the Garden State made continued efforts to pass its own 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.
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 struck down once and for all.
What followed that decision three months ago has been 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 in Delaware had legal frameworks in place as a result of their parlay card operation. Known as the First State for a motive, Delaware went quickly to become the first state outside of Nevada to accept legal sports wagers.
Here’s how Governor Carney described the sports gambling launching in an interview with ESPN Chalk:
“For us, it’s really an enhancement of our tourism market.
It’ll attract a great deal of visitors to our state, especially in this time of year, throughout summer time, coming to our lovely beaches south of this.
They come here and stop in the casinos and also do slot machine and table gambling. This will be an additional chance for them.”
Carney also took a moment to hype Delaware since the Northeast’s newest sports gambling destination when speaking to USA Today:
“Gloating in this industry does not last very long.
We are happy to be first now.
I don’t expect we will be the only one very long, but now it seems really good to be first.”
Carney’s historic first wager was placed at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, but the state 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 — that should be any moment now — Delaware stands out as the only place for residents of the East Coast to place wagers. Bearing that in mind, bettors will be flocking to those casinos from all corners of the Northeast.
To help get you started on your sports betting journey, I’ve gone ahead and visited all the three sportsbooks in Delaware. Below you will discover honest and objective reviews of each centre, together with need to know information like the address, contact number, website, and distances from regional population centers.
Check out my reviews of those 3 sportsbook places now working in Delaware to make a more educated decision with your gambling 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 at the very northernmost point of the state, in town of Wilmington, Delaware Park Racetrack is your very conveniently accessible venue for people in New York and New England.
It’s also the most appealing of this trio, the casino centre nestled near the banks of the Delaware River along a grassy green hill. From the outside, Delaware Park appears to be another stately three-story property, but as soon as you step foot in you will feel as if you have walked onto the casino floor in Las Vegas.
Between the slot machines, bright lights, and gold trim, this place is much similar to the Golden Nugget than your average rural racetrack.
Once you discover the sportsbook places — that are located in the clubhouses around the 1st and 3rd floors — you’ll be greeted by an array of brightly colored miniature lightbulbs displaying the day’s lines and odds. These betting boards used to be cutting edge in vegas about a decade ago, but Sin City has phased out them in favor of high-definition tv displays instead.
But you know what they say about a person’s trash being another’s treasure, therefore 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 venue’s most prominent technological flourish:
“These boards were bought eight decades back, and they’re no more employed in Vegas.
But they’re the top boards in Delaware!”
If you’re unfamiliar with a sportsbook gaming enthusiast the image below will show you what I am discussing.
Sports Book Beting Board
As you can see, every game or bet is coded with a base amount (401, 402, etc. in the example image above). When betting on 401 in the picture above, you would be financing the Minnesota Vikings (-10) within the Los Angeles Rams. That (-10) figure refers to the point spread, so in this scenario, the Vikings will be putting 10 points to the Rams.
If you wished to take Minnesota without the spread, just search 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 instance, you would be backing a big (-600) preferred, even though a bet on the underdog Rams would offer (+400) in your money.
Each participant or team will have their own number, so you would just tell the clerk”$100 on 401moneyline please” to place a c-note down on the Vikes.
In addition to 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 centre, but they looked like ATM machines from the early 1990s. Think a boxy frame, small screen, and no-nonsense interface and you’ll find the idea.
You can wager to your heart’s content at Delaware Park, which provides daily actions on Major League Baseball (MLB), plus the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals, along with a ton of daily golfing clubs and tennis tournaments.
If you’re considering futures betting, have a shot in the forthcoming 2018 World Cup soccer tournament, or attempt to forecast which NFL team will take the Super Bowl title this year.
Fasymade it apparent in a round of meet and greets with the regional media that Delaware Park would be going”all in” on its sportsbook. According to him, each form of betting will be on the desk, save you:
“I feel the only thing we are not likely to provide is’in sport’ wagering.
You’re likely to have prop bets. You are just not going to have in game prop bets going on.
And you’re going to have a truly mobile device”
The concept of in-game betting was popularized by online sportsbooks, with players able to place extra wagers even as the match is ongoing. Say your group falls right into an early hole, and you are keen on balancing the ledger. Putting an in-game bet on the opposite side provides valuable protection against upsets and unexpected circumstances.
While the in-game betting fad won’t be coming to Delaware Park just yet, Fasy did allude to the emergence of mobile and online wagering in the future.
Do not overlook, Delaware is one of just three countries — along with Nevada and New Jersey — in which a legal and regulated online gambling industry has gone live. With online casinos and poker rooms already hosted by the country’s three casino racetracks, it won’t be long until you can download the Delaware Park sportsbook app directly for your smartphone or mobile device.
When it comes to customer support, Delaware Park really hit the ball out of the park. Under guidance from Fasy — who’s obviously enthused about turning the place into a sports bettor’s haven — the staff here are knowledgeable and courteous. Sure, a couple hiccups could be observed concerning erroneous tickets and so on, for example my futures wager on the Miami Dolphins year win total being entered as a Miami Marlins moneyline by error.
However, those growing pains should be expected for any new sportsbook. Thanks to the helpful attendants, I managed to cancel the Marlins ticket and then swap it to the Dolphins in a matter of minutes.
All in all, I can’t recommend Delaware Park enough, based equally on the place’s contemporary sense and Fasy’s clear commitment 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 first thought was of the glittering Off-Strip casinos scattered throughout the Las Vegas desert.
Places like the South Point and Red Rock Resort, which unite sprawling hotel towers crossing several 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 doorways. Vaulted ceilings, fancy artwork, and marble floors all combine to turn the area into a casino connoisseur’s dream come true. This location has convention halls, shopping outlets, and of course, a racetrack where NASCAR events are hosted every year.
Head through the primary entry and locate the closest bar off to the side, and you will be smack dab at the sportsbook. Just search for the large comfy chairs and enormous projector displays overhead, and you are there.
At first glance, the sportsbook centre at Dover Downs appears to indicate a flourishing enterprise place to capitalize on the demise of PASPA. And to be sure, the facility has expanded its offerings to include the full complement of single-game wagers, props, and futures.
But during my time , the focus from staff and clients alike stayed on horse racing. This makes sense I guess, what with the place’s longstanding affiliation with the”Sport of Kings.”
I was curious, however, about the apparent absence of buzz regarding ordinary sports betting, particularly with the NBA and NHL Finals going on at the time.
A little digging around advised the narrative, as I discovered the following quotation from Dover Downs president Ed Sutor within an article printed by theDelaware Public:
“It is nice to have. [However ] at Nevada, where they’ve had it for 50 decades, it only represents about two percent of their earnings.
A good deal of people are mistaking the amounts bet as the revenue.
It is not a huge take for the business.”
Sutor wasn’t the sole 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 gambling 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 that does not have any foundation in fact.People have to manage their expectations on this.
The dollars that are left over after you pay back the winners are extremely little and you divide it among a variety of people within this state.
When (surrounding states) wake up and running, we’re just going to observe a draining of individuals who are coming , just as we’ve observed from the regular casino industry and prior to this at the horse racing business.”
While a pragmatic business outlook certainly is reasonable, particularly by an operator’s standpoint, I’m not sure I know Dover Downs’ angle on this.
By failing to adopt the full array of sports betting options now open to Delaware, the place risks being abandoned in Delaware Park’s dust. And maybe that’s already true.
Last year the state of Delaware accumulated $1.9 million in revenue on its own parlay card games. From that figure, Delaware Park dominated the marketplace with $1.2 million, nearly three times that taken in by Dover Downs ($422,000).
The absence of religion expressed from the higher-ups at Dover Downs seems to have trickled down to the team level. Clerks did not seem very informed when I inquired about futures betting, and unless you were wagering on the ponies, nobody voiced the type excitement I felt back in Delaware Park.
And that’s a shame too, because from the outside , this site boasts the kind of conveniences every gambler appreciates.
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.
But you’ll be forgiven for driving right by the place without ever even noticing.
This casino has been affixed to a little harness racing track, along with the entire grounds was built outside 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 is an interesting design choice to say the very least, and things don’t exactly improve when you head inside.
If you’ve ever been to the older Downtown district in Las Vegas — home of”fabulous” Fremont Street — you then know what to expect at Harrington Raceway. Rundown slot machines, aging d??cor, along with a generally sullen scene would be the defining characteristics of the casino floor.
Luckily for bettors, the sportsbook place does offer a bit of improvement — but only barely. Things fell nicer in there, however, the set up of private cubicles with connected TV monitors — typical for racebooks — is not exactly inviting. The projector screens overhead are big and bright though, so I’ll give them that far.
Interestingly , Harrington Raceway’s chief executive officer Patti Key has yet to comment publicly on the legalization of sports betting. Whether this speaks to a companywide philosophy emphasizing horse racing across the sportsbook isn’t for me to say but Key staying tight-lipped is pretty interesting.
Because of the track’s standing as a severe harness racing centre, the sportsbook is generally crowded ahead of scheduled start times. If you’re there for sports just, make sure you grab a copy of the daily racing form to observe when the lines will probably start piling up.
A wonderful byproduct of this place’s serious approach to horse racing is the staff are prepared and ready to roll. I needed to correct a couple of ticket writers from time to time at the other two sportsbooks, but the folks in Harrington batted 1.000 in terms of precision.
Overall, the experience surpassed what I would’ve anticipated when I saw the construction, which is likely the reason why they say to never judge a book by it’s cover.
Based on the place you call home, one of the 3 places listed above are the most convenient based solely on closeness. That is probably reason enough to choose a favorite, but because Delaware is a small country, it is possible to hit all three inside a weekend to view them up close and personal.
In terms of my tour of the state’s sportsbooks, I preferred Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway, and Dover Downs in that order.
Delaware Park benefits from the excitement of its leadership, as Fasy attracts a genuine interest in the sports gambling industry to the table. His staff are genuinely eager to assist new bettors learn the principles, which goes a long way in my book. When the first online sportsbooks go reside in the First State, I will bet my bottom Delaware Park is running the series.
Harrington Raceway might not be much to look at, but the venue knows how to run a racebook. The staff can answer questions and lead you through the process with ease. Whether this success extends to sports betting remains to be seen, however I have a feeling serious bettors can call this place home.
As for Dover Downs, my feelings on the problem are easy — if the people in control do not 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 simply wouldn’t expect the mistakes and malaise here to be resolved anytime soon.
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