Delaware is not typically a state that you think about when sports betting in the United States is discussed. That might be true, but it was Delaware that accepted the first legal sports bets outside of Nevada after the fall of PASPA.
Sports betting in Delaware remains a very small market. Additionally, wagers must be placed in person at one of the racinos. This is not a state that has a strong sports culture and that has kept the overall numbers down as well.
The Delaware state legislature might have been the first to get a new law passed, but there are still some very restrictive laws as well. Sports bettors in the state have some great locations that accept betting on sports, but some travel is involved.
Other states have been able to fly past Delaware in terms of size and strength of the sports betting market, but it will always hold the title of the first state to offer sports betting outside of Nevada.
History Behind Legal Sports Betting in Delaware
Not only was Delaware the first state to offer legal sports betting when it became an option, but it offered a smaller form of sports betting before. The Delaware State Lottery had some options available, but those were some pre-built parlays that only focused on the NFL.
In 2009, House Bill 100 passed in Delaware as state lawmakers attempted to expand legal sports betting. That law was ultimately challenged at a higher level, and it was decided that parlay betting was going to be the only available option.
That House Bill 100 was still lurking in the background though, and it was technically still legal to place bets on sporting events in Delaware. After the Supreme Court lifted the federal ban in 2018, Delaware lawmakers officially made it legal to accept wagers on sporting events again.
Most states had to spend significant time putting together new sports betting legislation, but that wasn’t required in Delaware. The state did have to meet and discuss how this new industry would look, and it simply allowed for the horse racing tracks and casinos to begin accepting wagers.
Financial History Behind Legal Sports Betting
The sports betting revenue is taxed at a rate of 51% in Delaware, which helps the state bring in some much-needed funds. Delaware still hasn’t been able to put up the numbers that it would like to see. This is likely due to the fact that all bets have to be placed in person.
Since legal sports betting launched back in June 2018, the total sports betting handle in the state is $542.3 million. There are at least 10 different states that have posted a number larger than that in just one month.
Total sports betting revenue since June 2018 has come in at $82.1 million, and that’s from the sportsbooks winning over 15% of the wagers during that time. The national hold rate is close to 8%, and sportsbooks in Delaware have nearly doubled what most states are seeing throughout the country.
The high tax rate in Delaware has allowed the state to cash in on $54.6 million in tax revenue. However, there were much higher projections when sports betting was initially being discussed. There has also been talk of lowering the tax rate on sports betting revenue. However, that would hurt the numbers that are rolling in.
Sportsbook Apps in Delaware
When Delaware legalized sports betting, the law only allowed for retail sportsbooks. The sports betting law in Delaware has changed a bit throughout the years, but there has never been the opportunity to allow for online or mobile sports betting.
Delaware law requires all of the wagers to be placed at one of the three retail locations in the state. No mobile bets can be accepted. This keeps companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel out of the state and ultimately makes it harder to place a legal sports betting wager.
As you can expect, Delaware has struggled to keep up with some other states throughout the country as those markets do allow for mobile wagering. There has been some discussion about offering mobile betting at some point. However, a clear launch date does not seem like a realistic possibility.
Delaware is surrounded by other states with legal sports betting. Residents can travel across the border and place an online wager in states with that option.
Retail Sports Betting Locations
Delaware is not a very large state in terms of surface area. It can be pretty easy to travel throughout the state. Three locations accept legal wagers on sporting events. All of those are casinos located at horse racing tracks.
Bally’s Dover Casino Resort is located in Delaware, and it is built at the site of Dover Down Racetrack. This is a race track that tends to have a busy schedule throughout the year. Additionally, the retail sportsbook is going to be open even if horse races aren’t taking place.
Delaware Park Casino & Racing is another popular race track in the state and accepts wagers on sporting events. This sportsbook is located in Wilmington, DE and it’s another location that is known for staying pretty busy.
The third retail sportsbook is located at the Harrington Raceway & Casino. Not as well-known as the two other options in Delaware, it is another spot where legal wagers can be placed.
Sports Teams to Bet on in Delaware
You aren’t going to find any professional sports teams in the state of Delaware. This is one of the reasons that the total numbers are much lower than in some other states. While some professional sports leagues are looking at expansion, you shouldn’t expect to see this state getting any new teams. Delaware could combat this by allowing betting on in-state college teams, but that is currently not permitted.
While there are no professional teams in the state, the state is surrounded by plenty of big teams. The NFL and NBA tend to drive legal sports betting, and fans in Delaware have some historic franchises to choose from in both sports.
Most sports fans in Delaware tend to follow teams from Philadelphia, but some look at teams from Baltimore or Washington D.C. as well. When it comes to the teams from Philadelphia, it is the Eagles (NFL) and the 76ers (NBA) that tend to attract the most wagers. The Baltimore Ravens and Washington Commanders also help drive sports betting in Delaware.
Philadelphia is also home to the Flyers (NHL) and the Phillies (MLB) and those are two other teams that tend to attract some big wagers. The Flyers and Phillies are two other franchises that have had plenty of success and that always gets the bettors going.
FAQ for betting in Delaware
When did sports betting launch in Delaware?
The first Delaware sportsbook officially launched on June 5, 2018. The state became the first to offer sports betting in the U.S. outside of Nevada. Delaware lawmakers worked on a sports betting bill before the ruling by the United States Supreme Court.
How old do you have to be to bet on sports in Delaware?
The minimum age to place a bet on sports in the state of Delaware is 21 years of age. This is the same minimum age requirement as the racinos in the state.
Are there any sports betting apps in Delaware?
No, as of early 2024, online or mobile sports betting is not available in Delaware. There are three retail sports betting locations in the state.
Can I bet on college sports in Delaware?
Retail sportsbooks in Delaware are allowed to accept wagers on college sporting events. However, bets cannot be made on in-state college teams.
Is betting limited to Delaware residents?
No, betting is not limited to residents of Delaware. You can create a sports betting account from anywhere. However, location services will need to verify that you are inside of the state before you can make a bet.