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Industry Experts Talk Benefits Of Online Sports Betting To Delaware Lawmakers

Written By J.R. Duren | Updated:
Computer Keyboard And Man's Hand Grabbing Cash with Delaware online sports betting

People in Delaware tried to place more than four million mobile sports bets during the NFL season even though mobile sports betting is illegal in the Blue Hen State. That may be the more than four million reasons that Delaware lawmakers need to make online sports betting legal.

The staggering statistic came to light during a recent meeting of the Internet Sports Lottery Legislative Working Group, where industry participants discussed why it’s important to launch Delaware mobile sports betting.

Stakeholders make case for Delaware sports betting

Earlier this year, the Delaware General Assembly approved the formation of the Internet Sports Lottery Legislative Working Group. The group is made up of four lawmakers.  The group with two objectives:

  • Evaluating Delaware’s sports betting framework
  • Evaluating the mobile sports betting markets in other states, particularly Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey

As part of that second objective, the group met this month. During its meeting, it heard from stakeholders including the Sports Betting Alliance’s Jon Mandel and John Pappas, a public affairs and government relations expert at geolocation firm GeoComply, according to Delaware Public Media (DPM).

Pappas highlights interest from Delaware sports bettors

It was Pappas who provided the working group with the stat about how there were more than four million attempts to access mobile sportsbooks from early September to the Super Bowl.

Additionally, Pappas noted that the attempts came from around 112,000 sports betting accounts. During the NFL season, 11,424 people traveled out of Delaware to make a sports bet in neighboring states, Pappas noted. Additionally, 234 people traveled across state lines to place bets during Super Bowl Weekend.

Mandel attempts to ease fears about lost retail gambling revenue

Mobile sports betting is a big-money business; it often captures more than 90% of a state’s sports betting revenue. For the racinos and casino that are home to the state’s three retail sportsbooks, those numbers can be frightening.

But, Mandel argued, casinos aren’t going to suffer as much as they think they are. He said that neighboring states with retail and mobile sports betting are thriving.

DPM noted that Mandel also pointed out that legal mobile sports betting can help cut into the profits of the illegal market and make responsible gambling tools more prevalent.

Lawmakers should feel comfortable with the addition of online gambling

Delaware is one of only six states in the country to offer online casinos and poker. With that in mind, it’s not hard for lawmakers to envision a world in which the state adds sports betting to its online gambling offerings.

The state was the first to legalize sports betting after the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018. So, it’s certainly no stranger to the sports betting industry.

However, it’s taken the state a long time to embrace mobile sports betting. Often, this hesitation is centered on reach: online sports betting is accessible to anyone of age who has a device connected to the internet within state lines. And with that extra reach, there are new and recurring concerns.

How will the state implement responsible gambling programs that can help curb the growth of problem gambling that often follows online sports betting launches? How will states ensure bets are placed within state lines, and that people aren’t finding ways around geolocation technology?

The good news for Delaware is that its neighboring states have plenty of experience in this area. The state’s working group should have no problem getting the information it needs from Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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