After the Governor of Delaware plunked down $10 on June 5 to back his beloved Philadelphia Phillies within the Chicago Cubs, the wager indicated the beginning of a new era in American sports betting.
Governor John Carney’s flier on the Phillies managed to create a $20 profit also, following the (+200) underdogs were able to upset that the Cubbies.
That ceremonial bet positioned at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino was followed by many larger tickets purchased by more severe bettors, including a series of $500 baseball bets placed by local pro Stu Feiner.
Overall, across the state’s three racetrack / casino venues — Delaware Park, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, and Harrington Raceway & Casino — collected $322,135 at wagers on the first day of business. That amount comes straight from Delaware Lottery manager Vernon Kirk, who heads the regulatory team helping get Delaware’s sports gambling industry up and running.
Residents of and visitors to Delaware have managed to partially bet on sports for many decades, but merely on”parlay cards” according to National Football League (NFL) games. Those parlay cards required several winners to be connected together, and also the only tickets which cashed were those that showed all winners.
Traditional single-game or fixed-odds sports gambling, a la what you find in a Las Vegas sportsbook, was not accessible Delaware — or some other American state other than Nevada for that issue. Under a federal law called the skilled and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, single-game sports betting was banned anywhere but the Silver State.
That all changed on May 14, but when the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark 6-3 judgment in a case called Murphy v. NCAA. This case originated in New Jersey, after the Garden State made continued efforts to pass its sports gambling laws and regulations. After being sued by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Together with the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL, New Jersey’s final 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 laws absent Congressional action — PASPA was officially struck down once and for all.
What followed the decision three months ago was a veritable gold rush, with New Jersey racing to put the final touches on its 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. Called the First State for a motive, Delaware moved fast to become the first state out of Nevada to accept legal sports wagers.
Here is how Governor Carney explained the sports gambling launch in an interview with ESPN Chalk:
“For us, it is actually an enhancement of our tourism market.
It’ll attract a great deal of visitors to our nation, especially at this time of year, throughout the summer, coming to our lovely beaches south of here.
They are here and stop at the casinos and do slot machines and table gambling. This will be an additional opportunity for them.”
Carney also took a moment to hype Delaware since the Northeast’s newest sports betting destination when speaking to USA Today:
“Gloating in this business doesn’t last very long.
We’re delighted to be first now.
I don’t expect we will be the only one quite long, but now it seems very good to be first.”
Carney’s historic first wager was placed at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, however, the country is home to 2 more racetrack / casinos using in-house sportsbooks: Delaware Park Racetrack and Harrington Raceway and Casino.
Until the sportsbooks in Atlantic City go live — which should be any moment now — Delaware stands out as the only spot for residents of the East Coast to place wagers. With 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 3 sportsbooks in Delaware. Below you’ll find honest and objective reviews of each centre, together with need to know information like the address, contact number, site, and distances from regional population centers.
So check out my reviews of the three sportsbook venues now working in Delaware to make a more informed decision with your betting buck:
Delaware Park Racetrack
Address: 777 Delaware Park Blvd, Wilmington, DE 19804
Distance from Philadelphia:41 miles
Distance from Baltimore:69 miles
Distance from New York: 122 miles
Distance from Boston:355 miles
Located in the very northernmost point of the state, in the city of Wilmington, Delaware Park Racetrack is your most conveniently available venue for people in New York and New England.
It is also the most appealing of this trio, the casino centre nestled near the banks of the Delaware River along a grassy green mountain. In the outside, Delaware Park appears to be another stately three-story estate, but as soon as you step foot in you’ll feel as if you’ve walked on the casino floor in Las Vegas.
Between the slot machines, bright lights, and gold trim, this place is much more like the Golden Nugget compared to average rural racetrack.
When you discover the sportsbook areas — which are situated in the clubhouses on the 1st and 3rd floors — you’ll be greeted by an array of brightly colored tiny lightbulbs displaying the day’s lines and odds. These gambling boards was cutting edge in vegas about a decade back, however Sin City has phased them out in favor of high-definition television displays instead.
But you know what they say about one person’s trash being another’s treasure, therefore Delaware Park is pleased to have the gambling boards on site.
Just ask William Fasy, that serves as president of Delaware Park. Through an interview with Deadspin to celebrate his sportsbook opening for company, Fasy touted his venue’s most prominent technological flourish:
“These boards were bought eight years back, and they’re no longer used anymore in Vegas.
But they are the best boards in Delaware!”
If you’re unfamiliar with a sportsbook betting board that the image below will show you exactly what I’m talking about.
Sports Book Beting Board
As you can see, each game or wager is coded with a base number (401, 402, etc., in the example image above). When betting on 401 in the picture above, you would be financing the Minnesota Vikings (-10) over the Los Angeles Rams. That (-10) figure denotes the point spread, therefore in this scenario, that the Vikings will be laying 10 points to the Rams.
If you wanted to take Minnesota with no spread, just look for the positive or negative numbers to the right of the point spread. These figures are known as the”moneyline,” plus they represent true chances on your wager. For the Vikings instance, you’d be financing a big (-600) preferred, even though a wager on the underdog Rams would offer (+400) on your cash.
Each team or participant will have their own number, so you would just tell the clerk”$100 on 401moneyline please” to put a c-note back on the Vikes.
In addition to the fancy gaming planks, Delaware Park has also put up a bank of self employed wagering kiosks. These were not up and running just yet when I visited the facility, but they looked like ATM machines from the early 1990s. Think a boxy framework, small display, and no-nonsense interface and you’ll find the idea.
It is possible to wager for your heart’s content at Delaware Park, which provides daily action on Major League Baseball (MLB), plus the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals, and a slew of everyday golfing clubs and tennis tournaments.
If you are interested in futures betting, have a shot at the upcoming 2018 World Cup soccer tournament, or try and predict which NFL team will take the Super Bowl title this year.
Fasymade it apparent in a form of meet and greets with the local press that Delaware Park will be going”all in” on its sportsbook. According to him, every form of betting will probably be on the table, save you:
“I think the only thing we’re not going to provide is’in sport’ wagering.
You’re likely to have prop bets. You’re just not going to have in sport prop bets going on.
And you’re going to have a mobile device.”
The concept of in-game gambling was popularized by online sportsbooks, with gamers able to place extra wagers even as the match is continuing. Say your group drops right into an early hole, and you are keen on balancing the ledger. Placing an in-game bet on the opposite side offers valuable protection against upsets and unexpected conditions.
While the in-game betting fad won’t be coming into Delaware Park just yet, Fasy did allude to the emergence of mobile and online wagering down the road.
Do not forget, Delaware is one of only three countries — along with Nevada and New Jersey — in which a legal and regulated online gaming business has gone live. With online casinos and poker rooms currently hosted by the state’s three casino / racetracks, it won’t be long till it’s possible to download the Delaware Park sportsbook app straight 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’s clearly enthusiastic about turning the area into a sports bettor’s harbor — the staff here are educated and considerate. Sure, a few hiccups could be observed concerning incorrect tickets and the like, for example my futures wager on the Miami Dolphins year win total being entered as a Miami Marlins moneyline by error.
But those growing pains are to be expected for any new sportsbook. Thanks to this useful attendants, I managed to cancel the Marlins ticket and exchange it to the Dolphins in a matter of minutes.
All in all, I can not recommend Delaware Park enough, based equally on the place’s modern sense and Fasy’s clear commitment to producing the nation’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 Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, my first thought was of those 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 crossing several stories with classical architecture — 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 art, and marble floors all unite to turn the area into a casino connoisseur’s dream come true. This location includes conference halls, shopping outlets, and of course, a racetrack in which NASCAR events are hosted every year.
Head through the primary entry and locate the nearest bar off to the side, and you’ll be smack dab in the sportsbook. Just search for the big comfy chairs and enormous projector screens overhead, and you are there.
At first glance, the sportsbook facility at Dover Downs seems to suggest a flourishing enterprise place to capitalize on the demise of PASPA. And to be sure, the centre has expanded its offerings to include the complete complement of single-game wagers, props, and futures.
But during my time there, the focus from staff and clients alike stayed on horse racing. This makes sense I suppose, what with the venue’s longstanding association with the”Sport of Kings.”
I had been curious, but about the apparent absence of buzz regarding ordinary sports gambling, especially with the NBA and NHL Finals going on at the moment.
A little digging around told the narrative, as I discovered the following quote from Dover Downs president Ed Sutor within an article published by theDelaware Public:
“It’s wonderful to have. [However ] in Nevada, where they have had it for 50 decades, it merely represents about two percent of their earnings.
A good deal of people are mistaking the numbers bet as the revenue.
It is not a huge take for the industry.”
Sutor wasn’t the sole Dover Downs executive that appeared to be lukewarm at best when it came to expanded sportsbooks in the nation:
Dover Downs Gamingchief executive officer Denis McGlynn threw cold water on the idea that sports gambling 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 doesn’t have any foundation in fact.People need to manage 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 in this state.
When (surrounding countries ) wake up and running, we’re just going to observe a draining of people who are coming here, as we have observed in the regular casino industry and before that in the horse racing industry.”
Even though a pragmatic company standpoint certainly makes sense, particularly by an operator’s perspective, I’m not sure I understand Dover Downs’ angle on this.
By neglecting to adopt the full array of sports betting options open to Delaware, the venue risks being left in Delaware Park’s dust. And maybe that is already the case.
Last year the state of Delaware accumulated $1.9 million in earnings on its parlay card games. From that figure, Delaware Park dominated the market with $1.2 million, almost three times that taken in by Dover Downs ($422,000).
The absence of faith expressed from the higher-ups in Dover Downs appears to have trickled down to the team level. Clerks did not seem very informed when I asked about futures betting, and unless you were wagering on the ponies, nobody voiced 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
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 one hour and a half from Baltimore and Philadelphia.
However, you’ll be forgiven for driving by the location without even noticing.
This casino is affixed to some little harness racing track, and the whole grounds was built outside in the middle of nowhere.
The casino building’s exterior resembles that of non-denominational church, and not much adorns it to imply gambling and amusement is afoot. It is an interesting design choice to say the least, and things don’t exactly improve when you head indoors.
If you’ve ever been to the older Downtown district in Las Vegas — home of”fabulous” Fremont Street — then you 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.
Luckily for bettors, the sportsbook place does provide a little bit of improvement — but only barely. Things fell nicer in there, however, the set up of private cubicles with attached TV monitors — typical for racebooks — isn’t exactly inviting. The projector displays overhead are large and bright though, so I’ll give them that far.
Interestingly , Harrington Raceway’s chief executive officer Patti Key has yet to comment publicly on the legalization of sport betting. Whether this speaks to some companywide philosophy highlighting horse racing over the sportsbook is not to me to say — but Key staying tight-lipped is pretty intriguing.
Because of the track’s standing as a severe harness racing centre, the sportsbook is usually crowded ahead of scheduled start times. If you are there for sports just, be sure to grab a copy of the daily racing form to see when the lines will start piling up.
A nice byproduct of the venue’s serious approach to horse racing is that the employees are prepared and ready to roll. I needed to correct a few ticket writers from time to time at both of the other sportsbooks, but the folks at Harrington batted 1.000 in relation to accuracy.
In general, the experience surpassed what I would have anticipated when I saw the building, which is probably why they say never to judge a book by it’s cover.
Depending on where you call home, among the 3 venues listed above will be the most convenient based solely on closeness. That’s probably reason enough to choose a favorite, but because Delaware is a small country, it is possible to hit all three inside a weekend to view them up close and personal.
In regard to my own tour of the nation’s sportsbooks, I preferred Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway, and Dover Downs in this order.
Delaware Park benefits from the enthusiasm of its leadership, as Fasy brings a real interest in the sports betting business to the table. His team are genuinely eager to help new bettors learn the ropes, which goes a long way in my book. When the first online sportsbooks go reside in the very first State, I’ll bet my bottom Delaware Park is running the series.
Harrington Raceway may not be much to check at, but the venue knows how to run a racebook. The staff can answer questions and lead you through the process with ease. Whether that victory extends to sports gambling remains to be seen, but I have a feeling serious bettors can call this place home.
In terms of Dover Downs, my feelings on the situation are simple — when the people in charge do not enjoy sports betting, they wont enjoy sports bettors either. Until I hear word of a change in tone coming down the chain of control, I simply wouldn’t expect that the mistakes and malaise here to be resolved anytime soon.
Read more: todaysportsnews.org