After the Governor of Delaware plunked down $10 on June 5 to back his beloved Philadelphia Phillies over the Chicago Cubs, the bet signaled 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 placed at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino was followed by many larger tickets bought by more severe bettors, such as a string 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 get Delaware’s sports gambling business up and running.
Residents of and visitors to Delaware have been able to partly bet on sports for many decades, but only 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 that 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, wasn’t accessible 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, but 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, after the Garden State made repeated attempts to pass its sports gambling laws and regulations. After being sued by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), along 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 — that grants states the right to pass their own laws absent Congressional action — PASPA was officially struck down for good.
What followed that decision three months ago was 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 in Delaware had legal frameworks in place as a result of their parlay card surgery. Known as the First State for a motive, Delaware went fast to become the first state outside of Nevada to accept legal sports wagers.
Here is how Governor Carney described the sports betting launching in an interview with ESPN Chalk:
«For us, it’s really an improvement of our tourism market.
It’ll attract a great deal of traffic to our nation, particularly in this time of year, throughout the summer, coming into our beautiful beaches south of here.
They come here and stop at the casinos and also do slot machine and table gambling. This will be an additional chance 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 industry does not last quite long.
We are delighted to be first today.
I don’t expect we will be the only one very long, but now it seems really good to be first.»
Carney’s historical first bet 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 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 these casinos from all corners of the Northeast.
To help get you started on your sports gambling journey, I’ve gone ahead and seen all the three sportsbooks in Delaware. Below you’ll discover objective and honest reviews of each facility, along with have to know information like the address, contact number, site, and distances from regional population centres.
Check out my reviews of those three sportsbook places now working in Delaware to create a more educated 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
Situated in the very northernmost point of this country, in town of Wilmington, Delaware Park Racetrack is the most conveniently available venue for folks in New York and New England.
It is also the most attractive of the trio, the casino centre nestled near the banks of the Delaware River and also a grassy green mountain. From the outside, Delaware Park appears to be another stately three-story property, but once 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 golden trimming, this place is similar to the Golden Nugget than your average rural racetrack.
When you find the sportsbook places — which are situated in the clubhouses on the 1st and 3rd floors — you will be greeted by an array of brightly colored miniature lightbulbs displaying the day’s lines and odds. These betting boards was cutting edge in vegas about 10 years back, but Sin City has phased out them in favor of high-definition television screens instead.
But you know what they say about one man’s trash being another’s treasure, therefore Delaware Park is pleased to have the gambling boards onsite.
Just ask William Fasy, who serves as president of Delaware Park. Through a meeting with Deadspin to celebrate his sportsbook opening for company, Fasy touted his place’s most prominent technological flourish:
«These planks were purchased eight decades back, and they’re no more employed anymore in Vegas.
But they’re the best boards in Delaware!»
If you are unfamiliar with a sportsbook gaming enthusiast that the image below will show you what I am talking about.
Sports Book Beting Board
As you can see, every game or wager is coded using a base number (401, 402, etc. in the example image above). When betting on 401 in the image above, you would be backing the Minnesota Vikings (-10) within the Los Angeles Rams. That (-10) figure refers to the point spread, therefore in this case, that the Vikings will be laying 10 points to the Rams.
If you wanted 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 reflect true odds on your bet. For the Vikings instance, you’d be financing a large (-600) favorite, while a wager on the underdog Rams would offer (+400) in your cash.
Each participant or team will get their own number, which means you would simply tell the clerk»$100 on 401moneyline please» to place a c-note down on the Vikes.
Along with the fancy gaming planks, Delaware Park has also put up a bank of self-service wagering kiosks. These were not up and running just yet when I visited the centre, but they seemed like ATM machines from the early 1990s. Think a boxy frame, small display, and no-nonsense interface and you will get the idea.
You can bet for your heart’s content in Delaware Park, which provides daily actions on Major League Baseball (MLB), plus the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals, and a slew of everyday golfing clubs and tennis tournaments.
If you’re interested in futures betting, take a shot at the upcoming 2018 World Cup soccer championship, or try and forecast which NFL team will take the Super Bowl title this season.
Fasymade it clear in a form of meet and greets with the local media that Delaware Park would be going»all in» on its sportsbook. According to him, each Kind of gambling will probably be on the table, save you:
«I feel the only thing we’re not going to provide is’in game’ wagering.
You are going to have prop bets. You’re just not likely to have in sport prop bets happening.
And eventually you’re going to have a mobile device.»
The notion of in-game gambling was popularized by online sportsbooks, with players able to place extra wagers even as the game is continuing. Say your group falls into an early hole, and you’re keen on balancing the ledger. Placing an in-game bet on the other side provides valuable protection against upsets and unexpected conditions.
While the in-game betting fad won’t be coming to Delaware Park just yet, Fasy did allude to the development of mobile and internet wagering down the road.
Do not forget, Delaware is one of just three countries — along with Nevada and New Jersey — where a legal and regulated online gaming industry has already gone live. With online casinos and poker rooms currently hosted by the state’s three casino racetracks, it will not be long till you can download the Delaware Park sportsbook program straight for your smartphone or mobile device.
When it comes to customer support, Delaware Park really hit the ball out of the park. Under advice from Fasy — who’s obviously enthusiastic about turning the place into a sports bettor’s haven — the staff here are educated and courteous. Sure, a couple hiccups could be seen concerning incorrect tickets and the like, such as my futures bet on the Miami Dolphins season win total being entered as a Miami Marlins moneyline by mistake.
However, those growing pains are to be expected for any new sportsbook. Thanks to 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 recommend Delaware Park enough, based both on the venue’s modern feel and Fasy’s clear dedication to creating 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 Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, my first thought was of the glittering Off-Strip casinos scattered across the Las Vegas desert.
Places like the South Point and Red Rock Resort, which unite sprawling hotel towers crossing several stories with classical architecture — that is what Dover Downs is going for.
And the illusion isn’t broken one piece when you walk through the doorways. Vaulted ceilings, fancy art, and marble floors all unite to turn the place into a casino connoisseur’s dream come true. This place includes convention halls, shopping outlets, and of course, a racetrack in which NASCAR events are hosted every year.
Head through the primary entrance and locate the closest bar off to the side, and you’ll be smack dab in the sportsbook. Just look for the big comfy chairs and massive projector screens overhead, and you are there.
At first glance, the sportsbook centre at Dover Downs seems to suggest a thriving enterprise set to capitalize on the passing of PASPA. And to be sure, the centre has expanded its offerings to include the complete complement of single-game wagers, props, and futures.
However during my time there, the focus from staff and customers alike remained on horse racing. This makes sense I suppose, what with the place’s longstanding affiliation with the»Sport of Kings.»
I was curious, but about the apparent lack of buzz concerning ordinary sports betting, especially with the NBA and NHL Finals going on at the moment.
A little digging around advised the narrative, like I found the following quotation from Dover Downs president Ed Sutor in an article printed by theDelaware Public:
«It is wonderful to have. [But] in Nevada, in which they have had it for 50 decades, it merely represents about two percent of their revenues.
A good deal of people are mistaking the numbers bet as the earnings.
It’s not a huge take for the business.»
Sutor was not the sole Dover Downs executive that appeared 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 gambling are an economic boon for the state when talking to Delaware Online:
«There’s a lot of rhetoric that gets thrown around down there that does not have some foundation in fact.People have to manage their expectations on this.
The dollars that are left over after you pay back the winners are very little and you split it among many different people within this nation.
When (surrounding countries ) wake up and running, we are just going to see a draining of people that are coming , as we have observed in the normal casino industry and prior to that in the horse racing industry.»
Even though a pragmatic business standpoint certainly is reasonable, especially by an operator’s standpoint, I am not sure I understand Dover Downs’ angle on this.
By failing to adopt the entire spectrum of sports betting options now open to Delaware, the venue risks being abandoned in Delaware Park’s dust. And maybe that is already true.
This past year the state of Delaware accumulated $1.9 million in earnings on its own parlay card games. From that figure, Delaware Park dominated the marketplace with $1.2 million, nearly three times that obtained in by Dover Downs ($422,000).
The lack of faith expressed by the higher-ups at Dover Downs seems to have trickled down to the staff level. Clerks didn’t seem very informed when I asked about futures and unless you’re 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 in, 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.
But you’re going to be forgiven for driving by the location without ever even noticing.
This casino is affixed to a small harness racing course, and the entire 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’s an interesting design choice to say the very least, and things don’t exactly enhance when you go indoors.
If you have ever been to the old Downtown district in Las Vegas — home of»fabulous» Fremont Street — you then understand what to anticipate at Harrington Raceway. Rundown slot machines, aging d??cor, and a normally sullen scene would be the defining characteristics of the casino floor.
Fortunately for bettors, the sportsbook place does provide a little bit of advancement — but only barely. Matters fell more straightforward in there, but the setup of private cubicles with attached TV monitors — typical for racebooks — isn’t exactly inviting. The projector screens overhead are big and bright however, so I will give them that much.
Interestingly , Harrington Raceway’s chief executive officer Patti Key has yet to comment publicly about the legalization of sports gambling. Whether that speaks to some companywide philosophy emphasizing horse racing across the sportsbook is not for me to say — but Key staying tight-lipped is pretty intriguing.
Because of the track’s status as a serious harness racing centre, the sportsbook is usually crowded before scheduled start times. If you are there for sports just, be sure to catch a copy of the daily racing form to observe when the lines will probably start stacking up.
A nice byproduct of the place’s serious approach to horse racing is that the employees are ready and ready to roll. I had to correct a few ticket writers from time to time at both of the other sportsbooks, but the folks in Harrington batted 1.000 in terms of accuracy.
In general, the experience surpassed that which I would’ve anticipated when I saw the building, which is likely why they say to never judge a book by it’s cover.
Depending on where you call home, one of the three venues listed above will be the most suitable based solely on proximity. That is probably reason enough to select a favorite, but because Delaware is a small country, it is possible to hit all three inside a weekend to see them up close and personal.
In terms of 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 attracts a genuine interest in the sports betting business to the table. His team are really eager to help new bettors learn the ropes, and that goes a long way in my own book. When the very first online sportsbooks go live 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 guide you through the process easily. Whether that success goes to sports gambling remains to be seen, but I have a sense severe bettors can call this place home.
In terms of Dover Downs, my feelings about the problem are easy — if the people in control don’t enjoy sports betting, they won’t appreciate sports bettors . Until I hear word of a change in tone coming down the chain of command, I simply wouldn’t anticipate that the mistakes and malaise here to be solved anytime soon.
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