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Is sports betting legal in Delaware?

Yes, sports betting is legal in Delaware. It was the first state to allow sports betting after the US Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, in 2018.

Today, sports betting in Delaware is available in person at any of the state’s three retail gambling locations. Through an agreement with the Delaware Lottery, William Hill serves as the exclusive risk manager for the three sportsbooks.

When will online sports betting launch in Delaware?

While online sports betting is legal in Delaware, there is no timeline for the lottery to launch online sports betting. Delaware residents who wish to bet online need to travel to nearby Maryland, Pennsylvania or New Jersey to legally do so.

Delaware has struggled to generate revenue through its current sports betting model in the past — even before the COVID-19 pandemic shut casinos down — so there is a chance the state could entertain the notion of online betting at some point in the future.

Retail sportsbook locations in Delaware

With just three locations in the state, people in Delaware are limited in their options for sports betting. While the Delaware Lottery oversees all three sportsbooks, with William Hill acting as the risk manager, the casinos and properties themselves have three different owners. 

The Delaware State Fair owns Harrington Raceway and Casino, a Canadian private equity firm is the majority owner of Delaware Park, and Bally’s Corp. owns and operates Bally’s Dover.

All three sportsbooks offer the same betting menu under Delaware Lottery rules, with betting on professional and college football and basketball, pro baseball and hockey, horse racing, auto racing, international soccer and more. Bettors cannot legally wager on in-state college teams, however. 

Here is a breakdown of what each Delaware racino offers:

CasinoAddressSports bettingOnline bettingSimulcast/Off-track
Delaware Park Casino & Racing777 Delaware Park Blvd., Wilmington, DE 19804YesNoYes
Bally’s Dover Casino Resort1131 N. DuPont Highway, Dover, DE 19901YesNoYes
Harrington Raceway and Casino18500 S. DuPont Highway, Harrington, DE 19952YesNoYes

Other legal betting options in Delaware

Horse racing

Horse racing has been a part of Delaware since colonial times, and the practice is still legal today. Delaware has three live racing tracks:

The state’s three casinos, located at each of these tracks, also have racebooks and simulcast betting.Betting on horse racing online is also legal in the state. That means advance deposit wagering sites like BetAmerica, TVG and TwinSpires can all legally accept bets from people in Delaware.

Daily fantasy sports

Delaware is one of a few states that has legalized and regulated daily fantasy sports. Gov. John Carney signed DFS regulations into law in 2017.

That means anyone 18 or older can enter real money daily fantasy sports contests on platforms like DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo.

Lottery

Aside from controlling all sports betting in the state, the Delaware Lottery offers a menu of other options. It participates in multi-state draw games like Powerball and Mega Millions, as well as instant games like scratchers. Keno, video lottery and online table games are also available.

The Delaware Lottery also offers a Sports Pick game at lottery retailers in the state. The game allows users to make parlay bets on college and pro football games. Bettors can pick the amount they want to wager and the number of teams they want to include in the parlay. A variety of other bets — totals, futures, teasers — can be included on a card.

Technically, all of the slots at Delaware racinos are video lottery terminals, rather than genuine slots. As such, the Delaware Lottery, not the casinos, monitors and maintains them.

Delaware sports betting law

Sports betting became legal in Delaware in 2009. HB 100 (as House Substitute 1) passed both the state House and Senate in May 2009 and prompted the director of the Delaware Lottery as follows (according to the official synopsis):

“This bill requires the Lottery Director to use his or her authority to reestablish a sports lottery, which will enhance the Delaware Lottery, protect Delaware employment, and provide additional revenues for the State. The sports lottery excludes collegiate sporting events that involve a Delaware college or university. Persons under the age of 21 will not be allowed to participate in the sports lottery.”

At the time, the law claimed to be legal under the auspices of PASPA thanks to an existing parlay product in the state. The parlay product, which had been available in Delaware since 1976 and was exempt under PASPA, operated strictly as a product of the lottery commission.

So lawmakers sought to expand the legal betting activities. That did not work, however, and Delaware had to stick to its original parlay products only.

However, the law remained active in Delaware. Once PASPA met its demise in May 2018, Delaware lawmakers argued that no new legislation was necessary to allow sports betting in the state. Thus, all that remained was to hammer out the logistics of sports betting at the three retail betting locations. The main points of the law are as follows:

Popular sports teams to bet on in Delaware

While Delaware is not home to any major pro sports teams, a number of nearby teams have fans in the state. Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., are all in close proximity.

The majority of Delaware’s fewer than 1 million residents live in New Castle County, which contains the state’s largest city, Wilmington, just 30 miles south of Philadelphia. Therefore, many sports fans in the state tend to lean toward Philly teams.

Here are some of the most popular options:

The University of Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens also have a loyal following for their football and basketball teams. The basketball team made the NCAA tournament in 2022 and 2014. However, bettors cannot bet on in-state college teams under Delaware betting law.

Delaware sports betting timeline

2022: Delaware sees a dip in sports betting handle in 2022 compared to 2021. The state takes in $82.4 million in handle in 2022 and a little more than $7 million in revenue. The handle represents a 32% drop from 2021.

2021: After a down year in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, Delaware totals $121.8 million in sports betting handle, with $10.9 million in revenue for the state.

2019: Delaware totals $132.5 million in sports betting handle, with $19.5 million in revenue. 

2018: Following the US Supreme Court’s PASPA decision, state officials conduct a review of the legal sports betting climate and existing laws. The group determines that no further legislative work is necessary for Delaware to move forward, clearing the way for a quick launch. Regulators expect legal betting to roll out in June, barring any hiccups.

On the last day of May, Gov. John Carney confirms those expectations. Carney issues a news release targeting June 5 for launch, a timeline that ultimately proves accurate. 

2009: In 2009, Gov. Jack Markell pushes an effort to expand the state’s existing parlay lottery product into full-scale sports betting. The sports leagues sue the state, citing PASPA. Although the Delaware Supreme Court had ruled the move was legal, federal courts disagree. A US circuit court provides the final ruling against the state, shutting down its proposed expansion.

The state appeals to the US Supreme Court, which declines to hear the arguments. Had the court taken the case, we might be talking about Markell vs. NCAA rather than Murphy vs. NCAA (the case that led to the US Supreme Court overturning PASPA, named after the New Jersey governor).

Delaware sports betting FAQ

Is online sports betting legal in Delaware?

Yes. Delaware law permits online sports betting, but no online sportsbooks are available in the state. Bettors in Delaware can only legally wager in person at this time. 

What can I bet on in Delaware?

All of the usual sports are available at any of Delaware’s three racinos. Betting on in-state college teams is not legal in Delaware, however. 

Who oversees Delaware sports betting?

The Delaware Lottery is in charge of regulation and oversight of sports betting in the state.

Who can apply for a Delaware sports betting license?

Technically, nobody. The state’s three casinos function as a combined licensee, and they share the cost of licensure based on their slot contribution to the state.

Who can bet on sports in Delaware?

The legal gambling age in Delaware is 21 or older, and betting on sports has the same requirement.

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