When the Governor of Delaware plunked down $10 on June 5 to back his beloved Philadelphia Phillies over the Chicago Cubs, the wager indicated the beginning of a new era in American sports betting.
Governor John Carney’s flier about the Phillies managed to produce a $20 profit also, following the (+200) underdogs were able to upset the Cubbies.
That ceremonial bet placed at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino was quickly followed by several bigger tickets purchased by more serious bettors, including a string of $500 baseball bets placed by local pro Stu Feiner.
All in all, across the state’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 manager Vernon Kirk, who heads the regulatory team helping get Delaware’s sports gambling business ready to go.
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 demanded several winners to be connected together, and the only tickets which cashed were those that revealed all winners.
Conventional single-game or fixed-odds sports betting, a la what you find in a Las Vegas sportsbook, wasn’t available in Delaware — or any American state aside from Nevada for that matter. Under a federal law called the Professional 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, however, when the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark 6-3 judgment in a case called Murphy v. NCAA. That case originated in New Jersey, following the Garden State made repeated attempts to pass its sports betting laws and regulations. After being sued by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), along with the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL, New Jersey’s ultimate appeal to the Supreme Court wound up at the winning column.
Whenever the Court ruled that PASPA violated the 10th amendment to the U.S. Constitution — that grants states the right to pass their own laws absent Congressional action — PASPA was struck down for good.
What followed the decision three weeks ago has been a veritable gold rush, with New Jersey racing to place the final touches on its statewide regulations.
However, while lawmakers in New Jersey took their time, their counterparts from Delaware already 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 Nevada to take legal sports wagers.
Here is how Governor Carney explained the sports gambling launching in an interview with ESPN Chalk:
“For us, it’s actually an improvement of our tourism industry.
It’ll attract a great deal of traffic to our state, especially in this time of year, throughout the summer, coming to our beautiful beaches south of here.
They are here and stop in the casinos and do slot machine and table gambling. This will be an additional opportunity for them.”
Carney also took a moment to hype Delaware as the Northeast’s newest sports gambling destination when speaking to USA Today:
“Gloating in this industry does not last very long.
We’re delighted to be first today.
I don’t expect we will be the only one very long, but today it feels really good to be first.”
Carney’s historic first bet was placed at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, but the state is home to two more racetrack / casinos with in-house sportsbooks: Delaware Park Racetrack and Harrington Raceway and Casino.
Until the sportsbooks in Atlantic City go live — that should be any minute now — Delaware stands out as the sole place 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 betting journey, I have gone ahead and seen all the 3 sportsbooks in Delaware. Below you’ll find objective and honest reviews of each centre, along with need to know information like the address, contact number, website, and distances from regional population centers.
So check out my reviews of those 3 sportsbook venues now working in Delaware to make a more educated decision with your gambling 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 at the very northernmost point of this state, in the city of Wilmington, Delaware Park Racetrack is your very conveniently accessible venue for folks in New York and New England.
It is also the most attractive of this trio, the casino facility nestled close to the banks of the Delaware River and also a grassy green hill. From the exterior, Delaware Park seems to be another stately three-story estate, but once you step foot inside you will feel like you have walked on the casino floor in Las Vegas.
Between the slot machines, bright lights, and gold trim, this place is much similar to the Golden Nugget compared to typical rural racetrack.
Once you find the sportsbook areas — which are situated in the clubhouses around the 1st and 3rd floors — you will 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 Las Vegas about a decade back, but Sin City has phased out them in favor of high-definition television displays instead.
However, you know what they say about one man’s trash being another’s treasure, so Delaware Park is pleased to have the betting boards on site.
Just ask William Fasy, that serves as president of Delaware Park. During a meeting with Deadspin to celebrate his sportsbook opening for business, Fasy touted his place’s most prominent technological flourish:
“These planks were bought eight years ago, and they’re no longer used anymore in Vegas.
But they’re the best boards in Delaware!”
If you’re unfamiliar with a sportsbook betting board that the picture below will show you what I’m talking about.
Sports Book Beting Board
As you can see, every game or wager is coded with a base amount (401, 402, etc., in the example image above). When betting on 401 in the image above, you’d be backing the Minnesota Vikings (-10) over the Los Angeles Rams. This (-10) figure denotes the point spread, so in this case, that the Vikings would be laying 10 points to the Rams.
If you wanted to take Minnesota with no spread, just look for the positive or negative amounts to the right of the point spread. These figures are called the”moneyline,” plus they reflect true odds on your bet. For the Vikings instance, you’d be financing a large (-600) preferred, while a bet on the underdog Rams would offer (+400) on your cash.
Each team or participant will get their own number, which means you would simply tell the clerk”$100 on 401moneyline please” to place a c-note back on the Vikes.
Along with the fancy gaming planks, 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 looked like ATM machines in the early 1990s. Think a boxy framework, small display, and no-nonsense interface and you’ll get the idea.
You can wager to your heart’s content at Delaware Park, which provides daily actions on Major League Baseball (MLB), and also the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals, and a ton of daily golf clubs and tennis tournaments.
If you are interested in futures betting, have a shot at the upcoming 2018 World Cup soccer championship, or attempt to predict which NFL team will take the Super Bowl title this season.
Fasymade it apparent in a round of meet and greets with the regional press that Delaware Park would be going”all in” on its sportsbook. According to him, every form of gambling will probably be on the table, save you:
“I think the only thing we’re not likely to offer is’in sport’ wagering.
You are likely to have prop bets. You’re simply not going to have in game prop bets going on.
And you’re going to have a mobile device”
The concept of in-game betting was popularized by online sportsbooks, with players able to place additional wagers even as the match is ongoing. Say your team drops right into an early hole, and you’re keen on balancing the ledger. Putting an in-game bet on the opposite side provides valuable protection against upsets and unexpected circumstances.
While the in-game gambling fad will not be coming into Delaware Park just yet, Fasy did allude to the development of mobile and online wagering in the future.
Do not forget, Delaware is one of just three countries — along with Nevada and New Jersey — in which a legal and regulated online gaming business has already 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 app straight for your smartphone or mobile device.
If it comes to customer support, Delaware Park really hit the ball out of the park. Under guidance from Fasy — who’s obviously enthused about turning the area into a sports bettor’s haven — the team here are knowledgeable and considerate. Sure, a couple hiccups could be seen concerning incorrect tickets and the like, such as my futures bet on the Miami Dolphins year win total being entered as a Miami Marlins moneyline by error.
But those growing pains should be expected for any new sportsbook. Because of the useful attendants, I managed to cancel the Marlins ticket and swap it to the Dolphins in a matter of minutes.
All in all, I can’t suggest Delaware Park enough, based equally on the place’s contemporary sense and Fasy’s clear dedication 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 sprinkled across the Las Vegas desert.
Places such as the South Point and Red Rock Resort, which combine sprawling hotel towers spanning several stories with classical architecture — that’s what Dover Downs is about for.
And the illusion is not broken one piece when you walk through the doors. Vaulted ceilings, fancy artwork, and marble floors all combine to turn the area into a casino connoisseur’s dream come true. This place includes conference halls, shopping outlets, and of course, a racetrack in which NASCAR events are hosted each year.
Head through the main entrance 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 massive projector screens overhead, and you are there.
At first glance, the sportsbook centre at Dover Downs appears to indicate a thriving enterprise place to capitalize on the demise of PASPA. And to be sure, the facility has expanded its offerings to include the full 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 guess, what with the place’s longstanding association with the”Sport of Kings.”
I was curious, but 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 narrative, as I found the following quote from Dover Downs president Ed Sutor within an article printed by theDelaware Public:
“It is nice to have. [But] in Nevada, in which they’ve had it for 50 years, it merely represents about two percent of their earnings.
A lot of people are mistaking the amounts bet as the revenue.
It’s not a massive take for the business.”
Sutor was not the only Dover Downs executive that seemed to be lukewarm at best as 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 doesn’t have some basis in fact.People need to manage their expectations on this.
The dollars that are left over after you pay off the winners are very little and you divide it among a variety of people within this state.
When (surrounding countries ) get up and running, we’re just going to see a draining of people that are coming here, just as we have observed from the normal casino business and prior to that at the horse racing industry.”
While a pragmatic company outlook certainly makes sense, especially by an operator’s standpoint, I’m not sure I know Dover Downs’ angle on this.
By neglecting to embrace the full array of sports betting options open to Delaware, the venue risks being abandoned in Delaware Park’s dust. And maybe that is already the case.
This past year the state of Delaware collected $1.9 million in revenue on its own parlay card games. From that figure, Delaware Park dominated the market with $1.2 million, almost three times that obtained in by Dover Downs ($422,000).
The lack of faith expressed by the higher-ups at Dover Downs appears to have trickled down to the team level. Clerks did not seem very educated when I asked about futures betting, and unless you were wagering on the ponies, nobody expressed the kind excitement I felt back in Delaware Park.
And that’s a pity too, because from the outside in, this site boasts the kind of conveniences every gambler appreciates.
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, just an hour and a half from Baltimore and Philadelphia.
But you’ll be forgiven for driving right by the place without ever even noticing.
This casino has been affixed to a small harness racing track, and the whole grounds was built out in the middle of nowhere.
The casino building’s exterior resembles that of non-denominational church, rather than much adorns it to imply gambling and amusement is afoot. It’s an interesting design choice to say the very least, and things do not exactly enhance when you go indoors.
If you’ve ever been to the older 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, along with a generally sullen scene are the defining features of this casino floor.
Fortunately for bettors, the sportsbook place does provide a little bit of advancement — but only barely. Matters fell nicer in there, however, the set up of personal cubicles with connected TV monitors — typical for racebooks — isn’t exactly inviting. The projector displays overhead are large and bright however, so I will give them that much.
Interestingly , Harrington Raceway’s chief executive officer Patti Key has yet to comment publicly on the legalization of sports gambling. Whether this speaks to a companywide philosophy emphasizing horse racing over the sportsbook is not to me to say but Key remaining tight-lipped is pretty intriguing.
Due to the track’s status as a severe harness racing centre, the sportsbook is usually crowded ahead of scheduled start times. If you’re there for sports just, be sure to catch a copy of the daily racing form to observe when the lines will begin piling up.
A wonderful byproduct of this place’s serious approach to horse racing is the staff are prepared and ready to roll. I had to correct a couple of ticket writers from time to time in the other two sportsbooks, but the folks at Harrington batted 1.000 in terms of accuracy.
Overall, the experience surpassed that which I would’ve anticipated when I first saw the building, which is likely why they say never to judge a book by it’s cover.
Based on the place you call home, among the 3 venues listed above are the most suitable based solely on proximity. That’s probably reason enough to select a favorite, but because Delaware is a small state, it is possible to hit all three inside a weekend to view them up close and personal.
In regard to my tour of the nation’s sportsbooks, I preferred Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway, and Dover Downs in that order.
Delaware Park benefits from the excitement of its direction, as Fasy attracts a real interest in the sports gambling business to the table. His staff are really eager to assist new bettors learn the principles, and that goes a long way in my own book. When the first online sportsbooks go reside in the very first State, I’ll bet my bottom Delaware Park is running the show.
Harrington Raceway might not be much to look at, but the place knows how to run a racebook. The staff can answer questions and lead you through the process easily. Whether this victory extends to sports gambling remains to be seen, but I’ve a feeling serious bettors can call this place home.
In terms of Dover Downs, my feelings on the problem are easy — when the people in charge do not enjoy sports gambling, they wont enjoy sports bettors . Until I hear word of a change in tone coming down the chain of control, I simply wouldn’t anticipate that the mistakes and malaise here to be solved anytime soon.
Read more: todaysportsnews.org