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Delaware Online Sports Betting Expansion Bill Dies As Session Ends

Legislation in Delaware to expand the online sports betting market didn’t make it out of House Appropriations Committee.

Rehoboth Beach Delaware
Photo by Julio Cortez/AP photo
Matthew Kredell Avatar
3 mins read

Delaware won’t expand past a single online sports betting operator this year.

The Delaware legislative session ended this weekend without passing the multi-operator sports betting proposal.

Rep. Frank Cooke sponsored HB 365, which would have authorized two skins each for the state’s three casinos.

Currently, BetRivers partners with the Delaware Lottery as the state’s sole online sports betting proprietor. The bill could have brought the total number of operators to seven.

The bill did initially advance from the House Administration Committee to House Appropriations on May 23. Rep. Peter Schwartzkopf, who co-sponsored the bill, confirmed with PlayUSA that it died in June when Appropriations did not take it up within 12 legislative days.

BetRivers is also the state’s exclusive operator of online casino gaming through partnerships with the state’s three casinos. Although it was not part of HB365, bringing DraftKings and FanDuel into the Delaware online gaming market could eventually lead to an expansion of Delaware online casino as well.

Why Delaware online sports betting expansion didn’t gain traction

Delaware was the first state to follow Nevada in launching sports betting in 2018 after the US Supreme Court overturned PASPA.

With Delaware being a small state, the Delaware Lottery chose one online sports betting partner in 888. With 888 leaving the US market, Delaware transitioned to Rush Street Interactive’s BetRivers last year.

Bonus.com reported that representatives of the Delaware Lottery and RSI opposed expanding the market to six operators at the Administration Committee hearing. They also opposed the bill because of the potential loss of revenue with a new tax rate in the legislation.

A Delaware Lottery representative went so far as to say that opening up the Delaware online sports betting model would cost the state $3 million annually.

The Sports Betting Alliance, which represents BetMGM, DraftKings, Fanatics and FanDuel, testified in favor of the bill, teasing the interest of some of the top online gaming operators to enter the Delaware market.

Industry and legislative sources indicated that the lottery opposition combined with a hectic end of session caused legislators to decide to table the issue for further discussion next year. Even though he put himself down as a co-sponsor, Schwartzkopf said he wasn’t sold after the initial hearing.

“I do agree with the concept of opening up the gaming sphere, but I want to hear the debate and what the bottom line is for the state,” Schwartzkopf said.

DC victory sets stage for Delaware, Rhode Island expansion

Last week, the DC Council approved expanding Washington DC’s online sports betting framework from one operator to seven operators.

It was the one legislative win for the online gaming industry in 2024, a year in which no new state legalized online gaming.

With online sports betting legal in 30 states and legalization efforts slow to move in other states, the industry is focusing on expansions in states where it already is legal.

Legislators in one-operator states, such as Delaware and Rhode Island, have seen more competitive online gaming markets fare better. They appear interested in seriously considering legislation to open up their markets in 2025.

Matthew Kredell Avatar
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Matthew Kredell serves as senior lead writer of legislative affairs involving online gambling at PlayUSA. He began covering efforts to legalize and regulate online gambling in 2007 and has interviewed more than 300 state lawmakers around the country.

View all posts by Matthew Kredell

Matthew Kredell serves as senior lead writer of legislative affairs involving online gambling at PlayUSA. He began covering efforts to legalize and regulate online gambling in 2007 and has interviewed more than 300 state lawmakers around the country.

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