Will Delaware Sports Betting Bill Shake Up BetRivers Monopoly?

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Delaware sports betting

Two Delaware legislators are looking to shake up the state’s sports betting market, which just saw its first online sportsbook launch in December.

Reps. Frank Cooke and William Bush introduced HB 365 Thursday. The bill authorizes two skins each for the state’s three casinos.

In June 2018, Delaware was the first state outside of Nevada to take a legal single sports bet after the repeal of PASPA, but progress has moved at a glacial pace since then. BetRivers is now the sole provider of Delaware sports betting through a multi-year agreement signed last year.

How a transition would work should the bill pass is not entirely clear. Requests for comment from sponsors, the Delaware Lottery and Rush Street Interactive went unreturned by publication.

Delaware sports betting bill details

The biggest note about HB 365 is that it gives operators incentive to hand out promotions to acquire bettors.

Sportsbooks could deduct 2.5% of monthly handle from taxable revenue through June 2025. That drops to a flat 2% moving forward in July 2025.

That deduction amount could be raised by the director of the Delaware Lottery at their discretion “when … the interests of the lottery system will be served thereby.”

The sportsbooks would be taxed at 18% of adjusted gross sports lottery receipts, which is revenue minus promotions and the federal excise tax. Another 1.5% of that adjusted revenue would be contributed to horse racing purses.

Lottery, legislature on different paths

Last January, two initiatives were underway to modernize sports betting in Delaware.

The first came Jan. 12 when the Delaware Lottery launched the RFP for a new online gaming partner that could offer online sports betting as well. That was followed two weeks later when Cooke had House Resolution 6 passed, which authorized a legislative study group for DE sports betting.

Both processes ran concurrently, with the Delaware Lottery selecting Rush Street as the sole operator of online sports betting while the legislature considered legalizing more skins.

That report came back in December shortly before BetRivers would accept its first online wagers in Delaware. The result was expected: a competitive sports betting market with more than one operator usually leads to more tax revenue for the state.

Would bigger sports betting operators apply?

It is not totally clear that there would be appetite for six licenses in Delaware.

The RFP did not draw much interest, as only incumbent operator 888 and Rush Street bid with a full solution.

Cooke told local media that a lack of bids from household names like DraftKings and FanDuel should be a concern for the lottery.