After the Governor of Delaware plunked down $10 on June 5 to back his beloved Philadelphia Phillies within the Chicago Cubs, the bet indicated the beginning of a new age in American sports gambling.
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 several larger tickets purchased by more severe bettors, including a series of $500 baseball bets placed by local ace Stu Feiner.
All in all, across the state’s three racetrack / casino places — Delaware Park, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, and Harrington Raceway & Casino — collected $322,135 at wagers on the first day of business. That number comes straight 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 partly bet on sports for several decades, but merely on”parlay cards” based on National Football League (NFL) games. Those parlay cards demanded several winners to be linked together, and also the only tickets which cashed were those that showed all winners.
Conventional single-game or fixed-odds sports betting, a la what you find in a Las Vegas sportsbook, was not available in Delaware — or any American state aside from Nevada for that issue. Under a federal law known as the skilled and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, single-game sports betting was prohibited anywhere but the Silver State.
That all changed on May 14, however, when the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark 6-3 ruling in a case known as Murphy v. NCAA. This case originated in New Jersey, following the Garden State made continued efforts to pass its own 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 ultimate appeal to the Supreme Court wound up in the winning column.
When 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 officially struck down once and for all.
What followed that decision three weeks ago was a veritable gold rush, with New Jersey rushing to place the last touches on its statewide regulations.
But while lawmakers in New Jersey took their time, their counterparts from Delaware had legal frameworks set up thanks to their parlay card operation. Called the First State for a reason, Delaware went quickly to become the first nation outside Nevada to accept legal sports wagers.
Here is how Governor Carney described the sports gambling launch in an interview with ESPN Chalk:
“For us, it is actually an enhancement of our tourism industry.
It’ll attract a lot of traffic to our nation, particularly at this time of year, throughout the summer, coming to our lovely beaches south of here.
They come here and stop at 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 since the Northeast’s newest sports gambling destination when talking to USA Today:
“Gloating in this business does not last very long.
We are delighted to be first now.
I really don’t expect we will be the only one very long, but now it feels very good to be first.”
Carney’s historic first wager was set 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 at Atlantic City go live — that should be any moment now — Delaware stands out as the sole spot for residents of the East Coast to place wagers. With that in mind, bettors will be flocking to these casinos from all corners of the Northeast.
To help get you started on 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 centre, along with have to know information such as the address, contact number, site, and distances from regional population centres.
Check out my reviews of those 3 sportsbook venues now working in Delaware to create 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
Situated at the very northernmost point of this state, in the city of Wilmington, Delaware Park Racetrack is your most conveniently available venue for people in New York and New England.
It’s also the most attractive of the trio, the casino facility nestled near the banks of the Delaware River and also a grassy green hill. From the exterior, Delaware Park seems to be just another stately three-story estate, but as soon as you step foot in you’ll feel like you have walked onto 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 typical rural racetrack.
When you find the sportsbook areas — that are located in the clubhouses on the 1st and 3rd floors — you will be greeted by an array of brightly colored miniature lightbulbs exhibiting the day’s lines and odds. These betting boards used to be cutting edge in vegas about 10 years back, but Sin City has phased out them in favor of high-definition television displays instead.
But you know what they say about one man’s trash being another’s treasure, therefore Delaware Park is pleased 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 place’s most prominent technological flourish:
“These boards were purchased eight years ago, and they’re no longer used anymore in Vegas.
But they are the best boards in Delaware!”
If you are unfamiliar with a sportsbook betting board that the picture below will show you exactly what I’m discussing.
Sports Book Beting Board
As you can see, every game or bet is coded with a base amount (401, 402, etc. in the example picture above). When gambling on 401 in the picture above, you would be backing the Minnesota Vikings (-10) within the Los Angeles Rams. This (-10) figure refers to the point spread, so in this case, the Vikings would be laying 10 points to the Rams.
If you wished to take Minnesota without the spread, just look for the negative or positive amounts to the right of the point spread. These figures are called the”moneyline,” and they represent true chances on your wager. For the Vikings example, you would be backing a large (-600) favorite, while a wager on the underdog Rams would offer (+400) in your money.
Each participant or team will have their own number, which means 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 set 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 in the early 1990s. Think a boxy frame, small screen, and no-nonsense interface and you will find the idea.
You can bet for your heart’s content in Delaware Park, which provides daily action on Major League Baseball (MLB), and also the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals, along with a slew of daily golf clubs and tennis tournaments.
If you are considering futures betting, take a shot at the forthcoming 2018 World Cup soccer tournament, or try and predict which NFL team will take the Super Bowl title this season.
Fasymade it apparent in a form of meet and greets with the regional media that Delaware Park will be going”all in” on its sportsbook. According to him, each form of betting will probably be on the table, save you:
“I think the only thing we are not going to offer is’in sport’ wagering.
You are likely to have prop bets. You’re simply not likely to have in sport prop bets going on.
And eventually you’re going to have a truly mobile device.”
The notion of in-game gambling was popularized by online sportsbooks, with gamers able to put extra wagers even as the match is ongoing. Say your team falls right into an early hole, and you’re keen on balancing the ledger. Putting an in-game bet on the other side offers valuable protection against upsets and unexpected circumstances.
While the in-game gambling fad won’t be coming to Delaware Park just yet, Fasy did allude to the development of mobile and online wagering down the road.
Don’t overlook, Delaware is one of just three states — along with Nevada and New Jersey — where a regulated and legal online gambling business has gone live. With online casinos and poker rooms already hosted by the state’s three casino / racetracks, it won’t be long till it’s possible to download the Delaware Park sportsbook program directly for your smartphone or cellular device.
If it comes to customer support, Delaware Park really hit the ball out of the park. Under guidance from Fasy — who is clearly enthusiastic about turning the place into a sports bettor’s haven — the staff here are knowledgeable and considerate. Sure, a couple hiccups could be seen concerning erroneous tickets and so on, for example my futures bet on the Miami Dolphins season win total being entered as a Miami Marlins moneyline by error.
However, those growing pains are to be expected for any new sportsbook. Because of the useful attendants, I was able to cancel the Marlins ticket and then swap it for the Dolphins in a matter of minutes.
Overall, I can’t suggest Delaware Park enough, based equally on the venue’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 unite sprawling hotel towers crossing a number of stories with classical design — that is what Dover Downs is going for.
And the illusion is not broken one piece when you walk through the doors. Vaulted ceilings, fancy art, and marble floors all combine to turn the area into a casino connoisseur’s dream come true. This place includes convention halls, shopping outlets, and naturally, a racetrack in which NASCAR events are hosted every year.
Head through the primary entrance and locate 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 screens overhead, and you’re there.
At first glance, the sportsbook centre at Dover Downs appears to suggest a thriving enterprise place 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 there, 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 was 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, like I found the following quotation from Dover Downs president Ed Sutor within an article published by theDelaware Public:
“It is nice to have. [However ] in Nevada, in which they’ve had it for 50 decades, it only represents about two percent of the earnings.
A good deal of people are mistaking the numbers bet as the revenue.
It is not a huge take for the business.”
Sutor wasn’t the only Dover Downs executive who appeared to be lukewarm at best as it came to expanded sportsbooks in the nation:
Dover Downs Gamingchief executive officer Denis McGlynn threw cold water on the notion that sports betting are an economic boon for the state when speaking to Delaware Online:
“There is a great deal of rhetoric that gets thrown around down there which doesn’t have any basis 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 split it among many different people within this state.
When (surrounding countries ) wake up and running, we’re just going to see a draining of individuals who are coming , just as we’ve seen from the regular casino business and prior to that at the horse racing industry.”
While a pragmatic company standpoint certainly is reasonable, particularly by an operator’s standpoint, I’m not sure I know Dover Downs’ angle on this.
By failing to adopt the entire spectrum of sports betting options now open to Delaware, the venue risks being left in Delaware Park’s dust. And perhaps that’s 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 obtained in by Dover Downs ($422,000).
The lack of religion expressed from the higher-ups at Dover Downs appears to have trickled down to the team level. Clerks did not seem very informed when I inquired 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 shame too, because from the outside , this venue boasts the type 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, 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, along with the entire grounds was built out 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 entertainment is afoot. It is an interesting design choice to say the very least, and things don’t exactly improve when you head indoors.
If you have ever been into 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, along with a normally sullen scene are the defining features of this casino floor.
Luckily for bettors, the sportsbook area does offer a little bit of advancement — but only barely. Matters fell more straightforward in there, but the set up of personal cubicles with connected TV monitors — typical for racebooks — isn’t exactly inviting. The projector screens overhead are large and bright however, so I’ll give them that much.
Interestingly , Harrington Raceway’s chief executive officer Patti Key has yet to comment publicly on the legalization of sport betting. Whether this speaks to a companywide philosophy highlighting horse racing across the sportsbook is not to me to say but Key staying tight-lipped is pretty intriguing.
Due to the track’s status as a severe harness racing facility, the sportsbook is generally crowded before scheduled start times. If you’re there for sports only, be sure to catch a copy of the daily racing form to see when the lines will start piling up.
A wonderful byproduct of this place’s serious approach to horse racing is that the employees are ready and ready to roll. I had to fix a few ticket writers from time to time in both of the other sportsbooks, but the people in Harrington batted 1.000 in terms of accuracy.
Overall, the experience surpassed that which I would have expected when I first saw the construction, which is likely why they say never to judge a book by it’s cover.
Depending on where you call home, among the three venues listed above will be the most suitable based solely on closeness. That is probably reason enough to choose a favorite, but since Delaware is a small state, you can hit all three within a weekend to view them up close and personal.
In terms of my tour of the state’s sportsbooks, I favored Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway, and Dover Downs in this order.
Delaware Park benefits from the enthusiasm of its leadership, as Fasy attracts a genuine interest in the sports betting industry to the table. His staff are really eager to help new bettors learn the principles, which goes a long way in my book. When the very first online sportsbooks go reside in the very first State, I will bet my bottom Delaware Park is running the series.
Harrington Raceway might not be much to look at, but the venue knows how to conduct a racebook. The staff can answer questions and lead you through the process easily. Whether that success goes to sports gambling remains to be seen, but I’ve a sense serious bettors will call this place home.
As for Dover Downs, my feelings on the problem are easy — when the people in control 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 just wouldn’t anticipate that the mistakes and malaise here to be resolved anytime soon.
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