When the Governor of Delaware plunked down $10 on June 5 to back his beloved Philadelphia Phillies within the Chicago Cubs, the wager indicated the start of a new age in American sports betting.
Governor John Carney’s flier about the Phillies even managed to produce a $20 profit also, following 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, such as a series of $500 baseball bets placed by local pro Stu Feiner.
Overall, across the country’s three racetrack / casino venues — Delaware Park, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, and Harrington Raceway & Casino — accumulated $322,135 at wagers on the first day of business. That number comes directly from Delaware Lottery director Vernon Kirk, who heads the regulatory team helping to get Delaware’s sports gambling industry up and running.
Residents of and visitors to Delaware have been able 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.
Traditional single-game or fixed-odds sports betting, a la what you find in a Las Vegas sportsbook, wasn’t available in Delaware — or some other American state other than Nevada for that matter. 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, but when the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark 6-3 ruling in a case known as Murphy v. NCAA. That case originated in New Jersey, following the Garden State made repeated attempts 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 at the winning column.
When the Court ruled that PASPA violated the 10th amendment to the U.S. Constitution — which grants states the right to pass their own legislation absent Congressional action — PASPA was officially struck down for good.
What followed that decision three weeks ago has been a veritable gold rush, with New Jersey rushing to place the final touches on its own statewide regulations.
However, while lawmakers in New Jersey took their time, their counterparts from Delaware had legal frameworks in place thanks to their parlay card surgery. Known as the First State for a reason, Delaware moved fast to become the first nation out of Nevada to take lawful sports wagers.
Here’s how Governor Carney described the sports betting launch in an interview with ESPN Chalk:
“For us, it is really an improvement of our tourism industry.
It will attract a lot of visitors to our nation, especially in this time of year, throughout the summer, coming into our lovely beaches south of here.
They are here and stop in the casinos and also do slot machine and table gaming. This will be an additional chance for them.”
Carney also took a moment to hype Delaware since the Northeast’s newest sports betting destination when talking to USA Today:
“Gloating in this industry does not last quite long.
We’re happy to be first now.
I don’t expect we will be the only one very long, but now it feels really good to be first.”
(Quotation link)
Carney’s historical first bet was placed at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, but the country is home to 2 more racetrack / casinos using in-house sportsbooks: Delaware Park Racetrack and Harrington Raceway and Casino.
Until the sportsbooks at Atlantic City go live — that should be any minute now — Delaware stands out as the only spot 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 in your sports gambling journey, I’ve gone ahead and seen each of the three sportsbooks in Delaware. Below you will find honest and objective reviews of each facility, together with have to know information like the address, contact number, site, and distances from regional population centres.
So check out my reviews of the three sportsbook venues now working in Delaware to create a more informed decision with your gambling buck:
Delaware Park Racetrack
Address: 777 Delaware Park Blvd, Wilmington, DE 19804
Phone: -LRB-302-RRB-??994-2521
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 country, in town of Wilmington, Delaware Park Racetrack is the very conveniently accessible venue for people in New York and New England.
It is also the most attractive of the trio, the casino facility nestled close to the banks of the Delaware River and also a grassy green mountain. From the outside, Delaware Park appears to be just another stately three-story property, but once you step foot in you will feel as if you’ve walked onto the casino floor in Las Vegas.
Between the slot machines, bright lights, and gold trim, this place is more like the Golden Nugget compared to average rural racetrack.
Once you discover the sportsbook areas — that are located in the clubhouses around the 1st and 3rd floors — you’ll be greeted by an array of brightly colored tiny lightbulbs exhibiting the day’s lines and odds. These gambling boards used to be cutting edge in vegas about a decade ago, but Sin City has phased out them in favour of high-definition tv displays instead.
However, you know what they say about one person’s trash being another’s treasure, so Delaware Park is happy to have the betting boards onsite.
Just ask William Fasy, that serves as president of Delaware Park. During an interview with Deadspin to celebrate his sportsbook opening for company, Fasy touted his venue’s most prominent technological boom:
“These boards were bought eight years back, and they are no longer employed anymore in Vegas.
But they’re the top boards in Delaware!”
(Quote link)
If you are unfamiliar with a sportsbook gaming enthusiast that the picture below will show you exactly what I’m talking about.
Sports Book Beting Board
As you can see, every game or wager is coded with a base number (401, 402, etc., in the example picture above). When gambling on 401 in the picture above, you would be financing the Minnesota Vikings (-10) within the Los Angeles Rams. This (-10) figure denotes the point spread, so in this case, that the Vikings would be putting 10 points to the Rams.
If you wanted to take Minnesota without the spread, just search for the negative or positive numbers to the right of the point spread. These figures are known as the”moneyline,” and they reflect true odds on your wager. For the Vikings example, you’d be backing a big (-600) preferred, even though a bet on the underdog Rams would offer (+400) on your cash.
Each participant or team will have their own number, so you would simply tell the clerk”$100 on 401moneyline please” to put a c-note back on the Vikes.
In addition to the fancy betting boards, Delaware Park has also set up a bank of self-service wagering kiosks. These were not up and running just yet when I visited the facility, but they seemed like ATM machines from the early 1990s. Think a boxy framework, small screen, and no-nonsense interface and you will find the idea.
You can wager for your heart’s content in Delaware Park, which offers daily action on Major League Baseball (MLB), plus the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals, and a ton of daily golfing and tennis tournaments.
If you’re interested in futures betting, have a shot in the upcoming 2018 World Cup soccer tournament, or try and predict that NFL team will take the Super Bowl title this season.
Fasymade it clear in a form of meet and greets with the regional press that Delaware Park will be going”all in” on its sportsbook. According to him, every Kind of gambling will be on the desk, save one:
“I feel the only thing we are not likely to provide is’in sport’ wagering.
You are going to have prop bets. You’re simply not going to have in game prop bets happening.
And you’re going to have a mobile device.”
(Quote link)
The notion of in-game gambling was popularized by online sportsbooks, with players able to place extra wagers even as the match is continuing. Say your group falls into an early hole, and you’re keen on balancing the ledger. Putting an in-game bet on the other side provides valuable protection against upsets and unexpected circumstances.
While the in-game gambling fad will not be coming to Delaware Park just yet, Fasy did allude to the development of mobile and internet wagering down the road.
Do not overlook, Delaware is one of only three states — along with Nevada and New Jersey — in which a legal and regulated online gambling industry has gone live. With online casinos and poker rooms currently hosted by the state’s three casino / racetracks, it will not be long until it’s possible to download the Delaware Park sportsbook program directly to your smartphone or cellular device.
If it comes to customer service, Delaware Park really hit the ball out of the park. Under advice from Fasy — who is clearly enthusiastic about turning the place into a sports bettor’s haven — the team here are educated and courteous. Sure, a few hiccups could be observed in terms of incorrect tickets and the like, such as 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. Because of the helpful attendants, I was able to cancel the Marlins ticket and then exchange it to the Dolphins in a couple of minutes.
Overall, I can’t suggest Delaware Park enough, based both on the place’s modern feel and Fasy’s clear commitment to producing the state’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 on Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, my very first thought was of the glittering Off-Strip casinos scattered throughout the Las Vegas desert.
Places such as the South Point and Red Rock Resort, which unite sprawling hotel towers spanning a number of stories with classical design — that’s what Dover Downs is about for.
And the illusion isn’t broken one piece when you walk through the doors. Vaulted ceilings, fancy artwork, and marble flooring all unite to turn the area into a casino connoisseur’s dream come true. This place includes conference halls, shopping outlets, and naturally, a racetrack in which NASCAR events are hosted every year.
Head through the primary entry and find the nearest bar off to the side, and you’ll be smack dab in the sportsbook. Just search for the large comfy chairs and enormous projector displays overhead, and you are there.
At first glance, the sportsbook facility at Dover Downs appears to suggest a flourishing enterprise set to capitalize on the passing of PASPA. And to be sure, the facility has expanded its offerings to include the complete 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 suppose, what with the place’s longstanding association with the”Sport of Kings.”
I had been curious, however, about the apparent lack of buzz regarding ordinary sports gambling, particularly with the NBA and NHL Finals going on in the moment.
A little digging around advised the tale, like I found the following quote from Dover Downs president Ed Sutor in an article published by theDelaware Public:
“It’s nice to have. [However ] at Nevada, in which they have had it for 50 years, it only represents about two percent of their earnings.
A good deal of people are mistaking the amounts bet as the revenue.
It’s not a huge take for the business.”
(Quote link)
Sutor wasn’t the only Dover Downs executive who seemed to be lukewarm at best when it came to enlarged sportsbooks in the state:
Dover Downs Gamingchief executive officer Denis McGlynn threw cold water on the notion that sports betting are an economic boon for the nation when speaking to Delaware Online:
“There’s a great deal of rhetoric that gets thrown around down there which does not have any foundation in fact.People have to control their expectations on this.
The dollars that are left after you pay back the winners are extremely little and you divide it among many different people within this state.
When (surrounding countries ) get up and running, we’re going to see a draining of people that are coming here, just as we’ve seen in the regular casino business and before this in the horse racing business.”
(Quote link)
While a pragmatic company outlook certainly is reasonable, particularly by an operator’s standpoint, I’m not sure I understand Dover Downs’ angle on this.
By failing to embrace the full spectrum of sports betting options now open to Delaware, the place risks being abandoned in Delaware Park’s dust. And perhaps that is already true.
Last year the state of Delaware accumulated $1.9 million in revenue on its own parlay card games. From this figure, Delaware Park dominated the market with $1.2 million, almost three times that taken in by Dover Downs ($422,000).
The lack of faith expressed by the higher-ups in Dover Downs appears to have trickled down to the team level. Clerks did not seem very informed when I inquired about futures and unless you’re wagering on the ponies, nobody expressed the type excitement I felt back at Delaware Park.
And that’s a pity too, because from the outside , this site boasts the kind of conveniences every gambler enjoys.
Harrington Raceway and Casino
Address: 18500 S Dupont Hwy, Harrington, DE 19952
Telephone: -LRB-302-RRB-??398-4920
Website: http://casino.harringtonraceway.com/sports-book
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, only an hour and a half from Baltimore and Philadelphia.
But you’re going to be forgiven for driving by the place without ever even noticing.
This casino has been affixed to some little harness racing track, and the entire grounds was built outside in the middle of nowhere.
The casino building’s exterior resembles that of non-denominational church, rather than much adorns it to suggest gambling and amusement is afoot. It is an interesting design choice to say the least, and things do not exactly enhance when you head indoors.
If you have ever been to the old 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, and a generally sullen scene are the defining features of this casino floor.
Fortunately for bettors, the sportsbook area does provide a little bit of advancement — but just barely. Matters fell nicer in there, but the setup of personal cubicles with attached TV monitors — typical for racebooks — isn’t exactly inviting. The projector screens overhead are large and bright though, so I’ll give them that much.
Interestingly , Harrington Raceway’s chief executive officer Patti Key has yet to comment publicly about the legalization of sport betting. Whether this speaks to some companywide philosophy highlighting horse racing over the sportsbook isn’t for me to say — but Key remaining tight-lipped is pretty interesting.
Due to the monitor’s status as a serious harness racing centre, the sportsbook is usually crowded before scheduled start times. If you’re there for sports only, be sure to grab a copy of the daily racing form to see when the lines will start piling up.
A wonderful byproduct of this venue’s serious approach to horse racing is that the employees are ready and ready to roll. I had to correct a couple of ticket authors from time to time at the other two sportsbooks, but the folks in Harrington batted 1.000 in terms of accuracy.
In general, the experience surpassed what I would’ve expected when I first saw the construction, which is likely why they say to never judge a book by it’s cover.
Based on where you call home, one of the three places listed above will be the most convenient based solely on proximity. That is probably reason enough to choose a favorite, but because Delaware is a small country, you can hit all three within a weekend to see them up close and personal.
In terms of my tour of the nation’s sportsbooks, I preferred Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway, and Dover Downs in this order.
Delaware Park benefits from the excitement of its leadership, as Fasy attracts a genuine interest in the sports betting industry to the table. His staff are really eager to assist new bettors learn the principles, and that 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 may not be much to check at, but the place knows how to conduct a racebook. The staff can answer questions and lead you through the process with ease. Whether that success extends to sports gambling remains to be seen, however I have a feeling severe bettors can call this place home.
As for Dover Downs, my feelings about the situation are simple — when the people in charge do not appreciate sports gambling, they won’t enjoy 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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