Delaware Will Start Accepting Sports Bets On June 5

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The race to become the first state outside Nevada to offer full-fledged sports betting is over. The tiny state of Delaware will start accepting wagers only weeks after the Supreme Court lifted the federal ban.

The state sent out a press release Thursday announcing full-scale sports gaming operations will launch at all three Delaware casinos at 1:30 p.m. local time on Tuesday, June 5.

The state’s three casinos include:

  • Delaware Park
  • Dover Downs Hotel & Casino
  • Harrington Raceway & Casino

Beginning June 5, the Delaware Lottery sports betting product Sportspick will be available at sportsbooks inside the three casinos. It will now include single-game and championship wagering for various professional sports. This includes baseball, football, hockey, basketball, soccer, golf, and auto racing. It excludes events involving Delaware-based teams.

However, it also appears tennis, boxing, and mixed martial arts will be added at a later date. Meanwhile, a how-to-play document released on the Delaware Lottery website contains rules for betting on these sports.

Delaware Lottery NFL parlay betting was already exempt from the federal sports betting ban. It will continue to be available at various Delaware Lottery retailers and bars. However, full-scale sports betting will only be available at the casino sportsbooks.

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Supreme Court opens sports betting door

The US Supreme Court released a decision May 14 declaring the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) unconstitutional. PASPA was the federal law that made sports betting illegal almost everywhere outside of Nevada. The decision opened the door for states to decide for themselves whether they want to legalize sports betting.

New Jersey is the state that fought the law in the courts. New Jersey lawmakers and lawmakers in other states have been scrambling to put together legislation to govern sports betting ever since. In the meantime, Delaware spent the time confirming the legal framework for sports betting inside its borders is already there. In fact, it now claims it has been there since 2009.

Immediately following the Supreme Court decision, Delaware Governor John Carney issued a statement saying full-scale sports betting could be available at Delaware’s casinos before the end of June:

“When the Supreme Court took this case last year, the Delaware Lottery began preparing for the possibility that the Court could overturn (PASPA)…We will be looking at whether the opinion allows Delaware to offer full-scale sports gaming beyond parlay betting on National Football League games that was re-instituted in 2009. We believe that Delaware likely already has all necessary laws and regulations in place to implement full-scale sports gaming under the direction of the Delaware Lottery. If it is permissible under the opinion, full-scale sports gaming could be available at Delaware’s casinos before the end of June.”

No legal obstacles to sports betting in Delaware

Soon after, Delaware Department of Finance Secretary Rick Geisenberger issued another statement. It said the state has determined there are no legal obstacles to full-scale sports betting in Delaware. This confirmed the law passed in 2009 already authorized betting on professional and collegiate sports in Delaware:

“Following Monday’s ruling by the US Supreme Court and consultation with the Delaware Attorney General’s Office, we are confident that Delaware has the legal and regulatory authority to authorize sports gaming in Delaware. The Delaware Lottery has had plans in place for months, and we will begin training lottery and casino staff early next week. We will continue to provide public updates as we prepare to launch full-scale sports gaming in Delaware next month.”

Thursday, Gov. Carney issued another statement coinciding with the announcement full-scale sports wagering would launch June 5 at Delaware casinos:

“Delaware has all necessary legal and regulatory authority to move forward with a full-scale sports gaming operation, and we look forward to next week’s launch. We’re hopeful that this will bring even more visitors into Delaware to see firsthand what our state has to offer.”

Additionally, Geisenberger said local casino and lottery staff are ready to go:

“We have worked closely with Delaware’s three casinos to train lottery and casino staff in preparation for a launch of expanded sports betting, and Delaware is prepared to move forward. We will continue to provide public updates and additional information through the Delaware Lottery ahead of next week’s launch.”

Martin Derbyshire

About

Martin Derbyshire has more than ten years of experience reporting on the poker, online gambling, and land-based casino industries for a variety of publications including Bluff Magazine, PokerNews, and PokerListings. He has traveled extensively, attending tournaments and interviewing major players in the gambling world.

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