Legislation Expanding Online Delaware Sports Betting Starts Rolling

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Delaware sports betting

Less than six months after online Delaware sports betting launched, lawmakers started discussions to expand the market beyond the existing lottery monopoly. 

On Wednesday, the House Administration Committee advanced House Bill 365, a Delaware sports betting bill that expands the market beyond BetRivers lottery monopoly. The bill takes the recommendations from a legislative study group formed last year. 

The legislative group process began two weeks after the Delaware Lottery released an RFP for its sports betting partner. BetRivers began offering online Delaware sports betting in January.

What’s in Delaware sports betting bill

Last year, Rep. Frank Cooke passed the resolution creating the legislative study group. He chaired the four-person, bipartisan committee. 

Shortly before BetRivers launched, the study found a competitive sports betting market would lead to more tax revenue. In April, Cooke and Rep. William Bush sponsored HB 365, which was filed in April.

The proposal allows the three Delaware casinos each to partner with two online sportsbooks. Delaware would levy an 18% tax on sports betting revenue, with another 1.5% taken to fund horse racing purses.

More attention to problem gambling 

Cooke said the existing model is not producing significant revenue for the state. He also noted the net level is low because of the “substantial fees” being paid to BetRivers. 

Cooke said a more competitive market could greatly increase the funds to the state. 

With those funds, he said, “We recognize the need to provide additional resources for problem gambling and treatment and prevention.” 

Expected opposition in Delaware

Representatives from BetRivers’ parent company, Rush Street Interactive, and the Delaware Lottery spoke against the bill at Wednesday’s committee meeting. Both explained their opposition to the proposal to LSR earlier this year. 

They argue the expansion of the sports betting market would reduce state revenues. The entities also argue there was not interest in the market during the RFP process. 

Only BetRivers and 888 responded to the lottery’s RFP. During Wednesday’s hearing, however, the Sports Betting Alliance was in attendance, as representatives from DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM spoke.

Multiple lawmakers also expressed concerns about altering the market so soon after the state’s partner launched.

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