Task Force Recommends Delaware Expand Legal Online Sports Betting

Written By Derek Helling on December 21, 2023 - Last Updated on January 4, 2024
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Delaware has for years been kind of an odd duck among states with legal online gambling. That might not be the case for much longer, although there are many matters for legislators in the state to sort through before any kind of substantial change can occur.

A task force consisting of Delaware legislators has published a report analyzing the feasibility of expanding legal online sports betting in the state. While it makes some clear recommendations, there are many pertinent details the report does not address.

Delaware task force issues report on sports wagering

The task force has completed its task. The nine-page report on its findings about online sports betting is now public. The task force consisted of four members of the state legislature:

  • Rep. William Bush
  • Rep. Franklin D. Cooke
  • Rep. Timothy D. Dukes
  • Rep. Michael F. Smith

Through the report, the task force makes five recommendations regarding online sports betting in Delaware. Those are:

  1. Delaware needs to have an online sports lottery;
  2. Delaware needs to have multiple online sports lottery operators(skins);
  3. Delaware should provide for a tethered model with existing video lottery agents;
  4. Delaware should protect the horse racing industry and purse contributions; and
  5. Delaware should provide additional resources for problem gambling

Currently, Delaware is an outlier among states with legal online gambling in a big way. They have only one option for both real-money online casino and online sports betting when it comes to doing both legally, BetRivers.

In many other states with legal online gambling, the market includes a choice of operators. If the legislature follows the task force’s recommendation, Delaware could join several states with a competitive market for online sports betting. Others with such systems include neighboring New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Going from the current state of affairs to that status quo isn’t as simple as producing a nine-page report, however. The state legislature has many potential ramifications and legal processes to consider.

A simple premise is complicated in its execution

Delaware residents hoping to place legal online sports bets with multiple apps soon shouldn’t hold their breath. It could be some time before the state legislature moves on this matter, much less before that becomes reality.

Among the hurdles that Delaware Legislature will have to clear is the state lottery’s existing contract with Rush Street Interactive (RSI) for online casino games. That contract gives RSI the status of exclusive provider of online gambling products to the Delaware Lottery.

However, the task force recommended that the state license multiple online sportsbook operators. It’s unclear if there will be adequate support in the legislature for a single-operator system that would respect the Lottery’s contract with RSI.

On the other hand, amending or exiting the contract to establish a competitive market may prove costly and difficult.

Additionally, the legislature will have to work out how to preserve contributions to the horse racing industry from sports betting revenue. Revenue from sports betting can be very volatile. The report emphasizes the need to ensure purse contributions don’t fluctuate too wildly with that.

While this report represents an important step toward making choice for legal online sports betting available in Delaware, that’s all it is. Several steps remain before Delaware residents can enjoy the full suite of online gambling options.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including finance, regulation, and technology in the gaming industry. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa and resides in Chicago

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