When the Governor of Delaware plunked down $10 on June 5 to back his beloved Philadelphia Phillies within the Chicago Cubs, the bet signaled the start of a new age in American sports betting.
Governor John Carney’s flier on the Phillies even managed to create a $20 profit too, following the (+200) underdogs were able to upset the Cubbies.
That ceremonial bet positioned at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino was followed by many larger tickets bought by more serious bettors, including a string of 500 baseball bets placed by local ace Stu Feiner.
Overall, across the country’s three racetrack / casino places — Delaware Park, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, and Harrington Raceway & Casino — collected $322,135 at wagers on the first day of business. That amount comes directly from Delaware Lottery manager Vernon Kirk, who heads the regulatory team helping to 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 demanded several winners to be connected together, and the only tickets that cashed were those who showed all winners.
Traditional single-game or fixed-odds sports betting, a la what you find in a Las Vegas sportsbook, wasn’t available in Delaware — or any American state other than Nevada for that issue. Under a federal law known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, single-game sports gambling was prohibited everywhere but the Silver State.
That all changed on May 14, however, when the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark 6-3 judgment in a case called Murphy v. NCAA. That 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 ultimate 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 — which grants states the right to pass their own laws absent Congressional action — PASPA was officially struck down for good.
What followed the decision three months ago was a veritable gold rush, with New Jersey rushing to place the last touches on its own statewide regulations.
However, while lawmakers in New Jersey took their time, their counterparts in Delaware had legal frameworks set up thanks to their parlay card operation. Called the First State for a motive, Delaware moved quickly to become the first state outside of Nevada to take legal sports wagers.
Here is how Governor Carney explained the sports gambling launch in an interview with ESPN Chalk:
«For us, it’s really an enhancement of our tourism market.
It will attract a lot of traffic to our nation, particularly in this time of year, throughout the summer, coming into our beautiful beaches south of this.
They are here and stop in the casinos and also do slot machines and table gambling. This will be another opportunity for them.»
Carney also took a moment to hype Delaware as the Northeast’s newest sports betting destination when talking to USA Today:
«Gloating in this industry does not last very long.
We’re delighted to be first now.
I really don’t expect we will be the just one very long, but now it feels really good to be first.»
Carney’s historical first bet was set at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, however, the country is home to 2 racetrack / casinos with in-house sportsbooks: Delaware Park Racetrack and Harrington Raceway and Casino.
Until the sportsbooks in Atlantic City go live — which should be any minute now — Delaware stands out as the only place for residents of the East Coast to place wagers. With that in mind, bettors will be flocking to those casinos from all corners of the Northeast.
To help get you started on your sports gambling journey, I have gone ahead and visited all the three sportsbooks in Delaware. Below you’ll discover honest and objective reviews of each facility, along with need to know information such as the address, contact number, site, and distances from regional population centers.
So check out my reviews of those three sportsbook venues now operating in Delaware to create a more informed decision with your gambling 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
Located at the very northernmost point of the state, in town of Wilmington, Delaware Park Racetrack is your very conveniently available venue for people in New York and New England.
It is also the most appealing of this trio, the casino facility nestled close to the banks of the Delaware River and also a grassy green hill. In the outside, Delaware Park appears to be another stately three-story estate, but once you step foot in you will feel as if you’ve walked onto the casino floor in Las Vegas.
Between the slot machines, bright lights, and golden trim, this place is much more like the Golden Nugget compared to average rural racetrack.
When you find the sportsbook places — which are located in the clubhouses on the 1st and 3rd floors — you will be greeted by an array of brightly colored miniature lightbulbs exhibiting the day’s lines and odds. These gambling boards was cutting edge in Las Vegas about a decade ago, but Sin City has phased them out in favour of high-definition television screens instead.
But you know what they say about a person’s trash being another’s treasure, so Delaware Park is pleased to have the betting boards onsite.
Just ask William Fasy, who serves as president of Delaware Park. Through an interview with Deadspin to celebrate his sportsbook opening for company, Fasy touted his venue’s most prominent technological boom:
«These planks were purchased eight decades back, and they’re no more employed in Vegas.
But they are the top boards in Delaware!»
If you’re unfamiliar with a sportsbook betting board the image below will show you exactly what I am talking about.
Sports Book Beting Board
As you can see, each game or bet is coded with a base amount (401, 402, etc. in the example picture above). When betting on 401 from the image above, you would be financing the Minnesota Vikings (-10) within the Los Angeles Rams. That (-10) figure denotes the point spread, therefore in this scenario, that the Vikings will be laying 10 points to the Rams.
If you wished to take Minnesota without the spread, just search for the negative or positive amounts to the right of the point spread. These figures are called the»moneyline,» plus they represent true chances on your bet. For the Vikings example, you would be backing a large (-600) preferred, while a wager on the underdog Rams would offer (+400) in your money.
Each participant or team will have their own number, so you’d just tell the clerk»$100 on 401moneyline please» to place a c-note back on the Vikes.
Along with the fancy gaming planks, Delaware Park has also set up a bank of self employed wagering kiosks. These weren’t up and running just yet when I visited the centre, but they looked like ATM machines from the early 1990s. Think a boxy framework, small screen, and no-nonsense interface and you’ll get the idea.
You can wager to your heart’s content in Delaware Park, which provides daily actions on Major League Baseball (MLB), plus the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals, along with a slew of everyday golf and tennis tournaments.
If you’re interested in futures betting, take a shot at the upcoming 2018 World Cup soccer championship, or try and predict that NFL team will take the Super Bowl title this year.
Fasymade it apparent in a round of meet and greets with the local press that Delaware Park would be going»all in» on its sportsbook. According to him, every Kind of betting will be on the desk, save one:
«I think the only thing we are not going to offer is’in game’ wagering.
You are going to have prop bets. You’re just not going to have in sport prop bets going on.
And you’re going to have a truly mobile device.»
The concept of in-game betting was popularized by online sportsbooks, with players able to put additional wagers even as the game is ongoing. Say your team falls right into an early hole, and you are keen on balancing the ledger. Putting an in-game bet on the opposite side offers valuable protection against upsets and unexpected circumstances.
While the in-game gambling fad won’t be coming to Delaware Park just yet, Fasy did allude to the development of mobile and internet wagering in the future.
Do not overlook, Delaware is one of just three countries — along with Nevada and New Jersey — in which a regulated and legal online gaming industry has already gone live. With online casinos and poker rooms currently hosted by the country’s three casino / racetracks, it won’t be long until it’s possible to download the Delaware Park sportsbook program straight to your smartphone or mobile device.
If it comes to customer service, Delaware Park really hit the ball out of the park. Under advice from Fasy — who is clearly enthused about turning the place into a sports bettor’s harbor — the team here are knowledgeable and considerate. Sure, a couple hiccups could be seen in terms of erroneous tickets and the like, for example my futures bet on the Miami Dolphins season win total being entered as a Miami Marlins moneyline by mistake.
But those growing pains are to be expected for any new sportsbook. Because of this useful attendants, I managed to cancel the Marlins ticket and exchange it for the Dolphins in a couple of minutes.
Overall, I can not suggest Delaware Park enough, based equally on the venue’s contemporary feel and Fasy’s clear dedication to producing the nation’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 very first thought was of the glittering Off-Strip casinos sprinkled across the Las Vegas desert.
Places such as the South Point and Red Rock Resort, which unite sprawling hotel towers crossing several stories with classical architecture — that’s what Dover Downs is about for.
And the illusion is not broken one bit when you walk through the doors. Vaulted ceilings, fancy artwork, and marble floors all unite to turn the area into a casino connoisseur’s dream come true. This location has conference halls, shopping outlets, and naturally, 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 will be smack dab at the sportsbook. Just look for the large comfy chairs and massive projector displays overhead, and you are there.
At first glance, the sportsbook facility at Dover Downs appears to suggest a thriving enterprise place to capitalize on the demise of PASPA. And to be sure, the facility has expanded its offerings to include the full complement of single-game wagers, props, and futures.
However during my time , the attention from staff and clients alike remained on horse racing. That makes sense I suppose, what with the place’s longstanding association with the»Sport of Kings.»
I had been curious, but about the apparent absence of buzz concerning ordinary sports gambling, particularly with the NBA and NHL Finals going on at the time.
A little digging around told the narrative, like I discovered the following quotation from Dover Downs president Ed Sutor in an article printed by theDelaware Public:
«It is wonderful to have. [However ] at Nevada, where they’ve had it for 50 decades, it only represents about two percent of the revenues.
A good deal of people are mistaking the numbers bet as the earnings.
It’s not a massive take for the business.»
Sutor wasn’t the only Dover Downs executive that seemed to be lukewarm at best when it came to expanded sportsbooks in the nation:
Dover Downs Gamingchief executive officer Denis McGlynn threw cold water on the notion that sports betting would be an economic boon for the state when talking to Delaware Online:
«There is a great deal of rhetoric that gets thrown around down there that doesn’t have any foundation in fact.People need to control their expectations on this.
The dollars that are left over after you pay back the winners are very little and you split it among a variety of people within this state.
When (surrounding countries ) get up and running, we are going to see a draining of individuals that are coming here, as we’ve seen in the regular casino industry and before that at the horse racing industry.»
While a pragmatic business standpoint certainly makes sense, particularly by an operator’s perspective, I am not sure I understand Dover Downs’ angle on this.
By failing to adopt the entire array of sports betting options open to Delaware, the place risks being abandoned in Delaware Park’s dust. And maybe that’s already the case.
Last year the state of Delaware accumulated $1.9 million in earnings on its 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 absence of religion expressed from the higher-ups in Dover Downs seems to have trickled down to the team level. Clerks didn’t seem very informed when I asked about futures and unless you were wagering on the ponies, nobody expressed the type excitement I felt back in Delaware Park.
And that’s a pity too, because from the outside in, this site boasts the type of amenities every gambler appreciates.
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 has been affixed to some small harness racing course, along with the whole grounds was built out 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 entertainment is afoot. It is an interesting design choice to say the very least, and things do not exactly enhance when you head inside.
If you’ve ever been into the old Downtown district in Las Vegas — home of»fabulous» Fremont Street — you then know what to anticipate at Harrington Raceway. Rundown slot machines, aging d??cor, and a normally sullen scene are the defining features of the casino floor.
Luckily for bettors, the sportsbook place does provide a bit of advancement — but just barely. Matters fell nicer in there, but the setup of personal cubicles with attached TV monitors — standard for racebooks — is not exactly inviting. The projector displays overhead are large and bright though, so I will give them that far.
Interestingly enough, Harrington Raceway’s chief executive officer Patti Key has yet to comment publicly on the legalization of sports betting. Whether that speaks to some companywide philosophy highlighting horse racing over the sportsbook isn’t for me to say but Key remaining tight-lipped is pretty interesting.
Due to the monitor’s status as a serious harness racing facility, the sportsbook is usually crowded before scheduled start times. If you are there for sports only, be sure to grab a copy of the daily racing form to see when the lines will probably begin piling up.
A nice byproduct of the venue’s serious approach to horse racing is that the staff are ready and ready to roll. I had to fix a few ticket authors from time to time at both of the other sportsbooks, but the folks at Harrington batted 1.000 in relation to accuracy.
In general, the experience surpassed that which I would’ve expected when I saw the building, which is likely why they say to never judge a book by it’s cover.
Depending on the place you call home, among the 3 venues listed above will be the most suitable based solely on closeness. That’s probably reason enough to choose a favorite, but since Delaware is a small country, you can hit all three within a weekend to see them up close and personal.
In regard to my tour of the state’s sportsbooks, I favored Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway, and Dover Downs in this order.
Delaware Park benefits from the enthusiasm of its direction, as Fasy attracts a genuine interest in the sports betting business to the table. His staff are genuinely eager to assist new bettors learn the principles, which goes a long way in my book. When the first online sportsbooks go live in the First State, I will bet my bottom Delaware Park is running the show.
Harrington Raceway may not be much to look at, but the venue knows how to run a racebook. The staff can answer questions and guide you through the process with ease. Whether this victory goes to sports betting remains to be seen, however I’ve a sense severe bettors will call this place home.
As for Dover Downs, my feelings on the problem are simple — if the people in control don’t appreciate sports betting, they wont enjoy sports bettors either. Until I hear word of a change in tone coming down the chain of command, I just wouldn’t anticipate the mistakes and malaise here to be resolved anytime soon.
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